Rain showers, temperatures plunging to wrap Central Coast, Bay Area – Monterey Herald

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MONTEREY – Mudslides, landslides and downed trees have temporarily closed highways over the weekend as a series of storms continue to hit the central coast and bay area this week, according to the National Weather Service.

A landslide closed Highway 1 along the Big Sur Coast between Ragged Point and the Elephant Seal parking lot in San Luis Obispo County on Sunday afternoon. The southbound lanes of Highway 17 near Vine Hill Road in Santa Cruz County were temporarily blocked Sunday evening by a mudslide and a downed tree, according to Caltrans.

The closure of Highway 1 south of Big Sur was just the most recent incident along the Big Sur coast in last week’s series of storms. On Monday morning, Caltrans said there was no estimated time frame for the reopening as maintenance crews / engineers assess the closure area.

“What concerns us is that most of our soils are saturated and we’ve had reports of falling trees and that happens when the ground gets really soft and wet,” said Brooke Bingaman, forecaster of meteorological services. “We continue to have more trees falling and shallow mudslides that could occur.”

Another storm is expected to bring a quarter to a half inch of widespread rain to the area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday before most of the precipitation stops in the afternoon, paving the way for dry conditions for the rest of the year. But the rain could come back on Sunday.

As of 1 p.m. Monday, 72-hour total precipitation included 1.56 inches at the Monterey airport, 1.02 inches at Salinas and 2.56 inches at Watsonville. The Bay Area 72-hour total precipitation included 1.44 inches in the Oakland Hills, 1.25 inches at Hayward Airport, 1.20 inches in downtown San Francisco, 0.87 inches in San Jose and 2.48 inches in Mill Valley at Mount Tamalpais.

“It was kind of a wide range (of precipitation totals), depending on where the heaviest showers were moving,” said Roger Gass, a meteorologist in the weather service. “Nonetheless, most of the locations received 1 to 2 inches in (Monterey) County, with more than about half an inch in the southern Salinas Valley.”

Cooler, drier air was expected to arrive from Canada overnight, bringing temperatures from the mid-1930s to the low 40s all the way to the coast on Tuesday morning and in the upper 20s to the low 30s to the region. from the bay. The overnight lows are expected to warm up as the weekend approaches.

“Vulnerable populations, especially people (not housed), if we get into freezing temperatures and they don’t have adequate shelter, it will have an impact on their well-being and their health,” said weather forecaster Emily Heller. “If you have any pets or animals that are sensitive to cold or vegetation, you’ll want to take steps to protect them as well. “

Gass said snow levels in Monterey County could drop as low as 1,500 feet from the immediate coast on Tuesday before climbing to about 4,000 feet on Tuesday afternoon as another wave of humidity brings l warmer air in the area.

“The higher elevations, especially in the Santa Lucia Mountains, continue to see accumulations of snow accumulating,” Gass said Monday afternoon. “From 4 to maybe 8 inches in the highest peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains (is expected). That said, given these lower snow levels, if the rain showers come during the time when we have the coldest air mass in place, which is what we currently expect, we might see a layer of snow as low as 2,500 feet – maybe even parts of Mount Toro, Fremont Peak, and other significant lower peaks in the Monterey area.

According to the weather service, it was reported that Mount Hamilton above San Jose was receiving nearly a foot of snow on Sunday and that peaks in the Bay Area could receive another 2-3 inches of snow during the last storm on Monday.

Snowstorms will drop another foot of snow on the Sierra Nevada ranges on Monday, with higher elevations of up to two feet, according to Heller. Conditions are expected to ease by the afternoon.

The Sierra Nevada continued to experience dangerous road conditions Monday morning as Interstate 80 remained closed from Applegate Road in Placer County to the Nevada state border due to power lines and downed trees and low visibility, according to Caltrans. Highway 50 was also closed from Placerville to Meyers, along with State Route 20 and State Route 49.

Sugar Bowl Resort and Palisades Tahoe closed on Monday due to heavy snow and road closures. Kirkwood reported receiving 20 inches of snow overnight and was aiming for a delayed start to midday on Monday.

“The freeways are still closed at this point,” Heller said. “Obviously, mountain travel is always discouraged until our partners have had the chance to clear the roads. “

The reprieve for much of California’s “severe” drought recently manifested itself in the form of atmospheric storms. As of 5 p.m. on Sunday, San Francisco had received 15.04 inches of rain since the start of the hydrologic year on Oct. 1, marking the eighth wettest hydrologic year to date and the wettest since 1983, when it rained. at 15.70 inches over the same period.

“The good news is that this rainfall helps replenish the water in the reservoirs,” Bingaman said. “We still have a good part of the rainy season. January, February and March are generally the wettest months so if we continue to see rainfall we will have a good supply of water for next summer.

California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, reported 28% of its capacity on Monday from 25% two weeks ago, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, was 37% full on Monday, up from 30% two weeks ago.

Herald staff writer Tom Wright contributed to this story.

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