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Atmospheric rivers have Central Coast bracing for more rockslides, flooding

NOAA's webpage on atmospheric rivers explains how they transport precipitation from the tropics.

Boulders slid onto Highway 1 near Ragged Point on Tuesday night after over 13 inches of rain in the Big Sur area. The road has been cleared, but forecasters say more rain expected this weekend may compound damage.

Steve Anderson from the National Weather Service Office in Monterey said that areas in Big Sur and along Highway 1 are the most vulnerable to the atmospheric rivers of moisture currently flowing towards the West Coast from Hawaii. He said ground saturation from heavy rains this week makes the Big Sur land even more vulnerable to rockslides.

“The biggest impact would be Highway 1, of course, with a lot of rock slides and debris on the road," Anderson said.


Heading down the coast, Stuart Seto from the Weather Service Office in Oxnard said the coastal hills in San Luis Obispo County will be hit the hardest by the coming rain.


“Because we’ve already had so much rain up there. And the ground kind of absorbs a lot of it. So if we get another good rainfall, especially this Saturday night into Monday. A lot more would be runoff," Seto said.


Seto said areas in Oceano have already been hit with floods, some places reaching to about a foot of standing water. He says those areas, and areas that were burned by 2016 wildfires, may not be getting any better in the coming days.


“If there are problems areas before, they’re only going to get worse. Be prepared for power outages," said Seto.


To find out more about road closures in your specific area, contact your local public works office:

- Monterey County Public Works

- San Luis Obispo County Public Works

- Santa Barbara County Public Works

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