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Another atmospheric river comes to the Central Coast

morro bay floood
Tom Wilmer
Morro Bay experiences flooding during the latest atmospheric river hitting the Central Coast.

County emergency information website:

San Luis Obispo County

Santa Barbara County

Monterey County

Update: Saturday, 10:30a.m.

Evacuation orders, flood warnings and other advisories are lifting in SLO County.

The flash flood warning for SLO County has been cancelled, according to @NWSLosAngeles.

The evacuation orders for Cambria and Oceano residents have also now been lifted.

However, the county said in a press release that "due to ground saturation, additional possibility for flooding may be expected with future storms. Another storm with the potential for significant rain is expected on Tuesday, March 14."

The county's Office of Emergency Services has recovery resources online here.

Update: Friday, 6:15p.m.

The evacuation order in Cambria has been lifted as of 6p.m., according to SLO County Office of Emergency Services.

Update: Friday, 4:10p.m.

SLO County has issued an evacuation order for Oceano residents in the area around the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee and Oceano Lagoon:

  • North and East of Strand Way & River Ave. (new)
  • South of Pier Ave. to the ocean
  • East to the railroad tracks, along the tracks, back up to Pier Ave.

The county says residents there need to leave now and seek high ground. A temporary evacuation point is set up at the Oceano Community Center at 1425 19th St.

There is also a Red Cross shelter at the Cal Poly Campus Crandall Hall on 1 Grand Ave in San Luis Obispo.

Update: Friday, 3:20p.m.

CalTrans reports Highway 1 is closed from Morro Bay Boulevard to San Jacinto due to flooding. The agency is warning people to not attempt to drive in floodwaters.

Tom Wilmer
Flooding on North Main Street in Morro Bay.

Meanwhile CalTrans is is responding to multiple rockslides on the Big Sur coast. Crews are working on that right now. The southern closure limit of Highway 1 is now at the elephant seal viewing area in San Simeon.

Update: Friday, 2:20p.m.

SLO County's flood warning has been extended to 10p.m., according to the SLO County Office of Emergency Services. The warning has already been extended multiple times throughout the day.

Update: Friday, 1:30p.m.

There are now evacuation warnings for the Tally Ho Area in Arroyo Grande. The area is along Tally Ho Creek from Corbett Canyon to James way.

This is in addition evacuation orders in parts of Cambria and Oceano, as well as warnings for residents in other parts of Oceano, and along the Salinas River in Paso Robles and Atascadero.

SLO County's flash flood warning will be ongoing until at least 7p.m.

Update: Friday, 12:30p.m.

The National Weather Service has extended SLO County's flash flood warning until 7p.m. There are evacuation orders in parts of Cambria and Oceano, as well as warnings for residents in other parts of Oceano and along the Salinas River in Paso Robles and Atascadero.

Check for full maps of evacuation zones and other information.

Update: Friday, 11:45a.m.

SLO County has issued a mandatory evacuation order for some areas of Cambria due to flooding:

• North of Santa Rosa Creek

• West of Bridge St

• South of Main St

• East of Cambria Drive

The county is directing residents to leave now and seek higher ground. They've established an evacuation point at the Santa Rosa Catholic Church on 1174 Main Street.

Residents can ask for transportation assistance by calling the Phone Assistance Center at (805) 543-2444.

Below is a map of the evacuation zone, and an interactive map is available at

Screenshot 2023-03-10 at 11.49.09 AM.png
Evacuation orders in Cambria as of 11:50a.m.

Update: 11:30a.m.

There's a flood warning issued for the Salinas River in SLO County. The National Weather Service says flooding near the river in Atascadero and Paso Robles is occurring, or will when the river crests this afternoon. The agency says this is a dangerous situation and to move away from the river.

Update: 10:40a.m.

The National Weather Service said rain is getting a little less intense over SLO and Santa Barbara Counties, but that more rain and possible thunderstorms will arrive around noon. The agency said on Twitter, "Do not let your guard down. We are not done yet."

Update: Friday, 9:30a.m.

President Biden has declared an emergency in California, specifically naming the Central Coast and Northern California counties. The White House said Biden has ordered federal assistance to help state, tribal, and local response efforts amid flooding, landslides, and mudslides in the state.

"The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Amador, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Yuba."
White House press release

The White House said FEMA is authorized to "identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency." That includes direct federal assistance to areas under the emergency order.

Update: Friday, 7:30a.m.

The NWS has added more areas to SLO County's flash flood warning including San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Arroyo Grande until 1p.m. The area covers more than 200,000 people, 51 schools and six hospitals, according to the agency.

Update: Friday, 6a.m.

We are moving into the peak of this latest atmospheric river. Today is forecast to see the heaviest rain of this current storm before calming down tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for northwestern SLO County, warning of potential “life-threatening flash flooding.” 

Several inches of rain have already fallen in areas like Cambria, San Simeon and Lake Nacimiento. The agency is urging people there to get to higher ground and avoid floodwaters.

There is also a countywide flood advisory, which means low-lying areas and intersections are already flooding.

Update: Thursday, 5:50p.m.

School districts across the Central Coast have announced they will be closed tomorrow. That includes Paso Robles Unified, Templeton Unified, Atascadero Unified, Coast Unified, San Luis Coastal, Cayucos Elementary, and Guadalupe Union school districts.

Highway 1 is now closed from Ragged Point Inn to just south of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Monterey County. CalTrans says it’s closed the highway after reports of rockslides in the area.

The warming center at 40 Prado in San Luis Obispo will be open tonight amid the storm.

Check-in for the warming center is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 40 Prado says guests who spend the night will have a warm place to sleep and shower. 

The warming center allows up to 40 people at a time. It closes tomorrow at 6 a.m.

Update: Thursday, 4:30p.m.

SLO County has issued an evacuation order to go into effect at 8p.m. for Oceano residents south of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee including all areas south of the Creek Channel for one mile and west of Highway 1.

The county said forecasted rain amounts are expected to fill the channel and potentially overtop the south levee. An interactive map of the area under the evacuation order is available on

Screenshot 2023-03-09 at 4.34.52 PM.png
The evacuation order for Oceano.

A temporary evacuation point has been established at the Oceano Community Center on 1425 19th St. RVs can park overnight at the community center.

There will also be a Red Cross Shelter open at 6p.m. on the Cal Poly Campus Crandall Hall on 1 Grand Ave in San Luis Obispo. Pets are welcome at the shelter.

Meanwhile, a non-mandatory evacuation warning remains in place for residents north of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee and near the Oceano Lagoon. The county said if evacuations become necessary in these areas, emergency officials will use notification methods as appropriate such as Wireless Emergency Alerts, reverse telephone notification system and social media.

The County Phone Assistance Center is at (805) 543-2444.

Original post: Thursday March 9, 4p.m.

The Central Coast is experiencing more stormy weather. The National Weather Service has placed San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties under flood watch, and areas around the Central Coast are under evacuation warnings.

An atmospheric river storm system is expected to bring several inches of rain to the area. The flood warning says Northwest SLO County is especially at risk and could see up to 10 inches of rain.

Officials say the weather may cause dangerous flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. This could lead to street flooding and highway closures. Emergency officials advise residents to stay home and not drive.

There’s also an evacuation warning for Oceano residents around the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee and Oceano Lagoon. SLO County’s Office of Emergency Services says residents in these areas should prepare for possible flooding and evacuation.

These areas of Oceano are not under a mandatory order at this point, but SLO County said it’s highly likely one will be issued in those areas based on projected rainfall. Residents can prepare to evacuate by filling up gas tanks and gathering clothes, food, medications and other belongings.

Screenshot 2023-03-10 at 8.37.02 AM.png
Monterey County Office of Emergency Services
Current evacuation zones in Monterey County in low-lying areas and near rivers.

If evacuations become necessary, emergency officials will use wireless emergency alerts, reverse telephone notification systems and social media to notify residents.

Some parts of Monterey County are also under evacuation warnings including near the Carmel and Arroyo Seco Rivers. An interactive map is available here.

Meanwhile, the City of San Luis Obispo says they’re preparing for the storm’s peak tomorrow. The city has closed the intersection of Marsh & Higuera Street because of anticipated flooding.

The Highway 101 on-ramp, off-ramp and the intersection will be closed until further notice.

Evacuation warnings in Oceano as of 4p.m. March 9

South of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee;

• All areas south of the AG Creek Channel for 1 mile and West of Hwy 1

North of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee

• All areas north of the Arroyo Grande Creek Channel and south of Beach St., and north of the Arroyo Grande Creek Channel west of 19th St. south of Ocean St.; and south of Pier Ave and west of Highway 1.

Area around the Oceano Lagoon including:

• South of Pier Ave. to the ocean

• North and East of Strand Way & River Ave.

• East to the railroad tracks, along the tracks, back up to Pier Ave.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
Amanda Wernik is a reporter and substitute announcer at KCBX. She graduated from Cal Poly with a BS in Journalism. During her time at Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor for KCPR Radio and as an intern for the CJ Silas Show on ESPN Radio. Amanda enjoys surfing, reading, playing with her dog, traveling, and fronting her own rock band, Kiwi Kannibal.
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