Big Sur turns rain-weary eye to possible showers, thunderstorms – Monterey Herald

BIG SUR >> Another round of inclement weather on the Central Coast, including the possibility of showers and thunderstorms, has prompted officials to take precautions and locals to prepare especially where a slip-out on Highway 1 occurred last weekend.

The forecast for Thursday from the National Weather Service points to a 60% chance of showers, with thunderstorms possible after 11 a.m. Temperatures will hover around the 50-degree mark under partly sunny skies. Expect west/southwest winds of 6 to 16 mph and gusts as high as 20 mph. Rainfall amounts could be between a tenth- to a quarter-of-an-inch, with higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

By Thursday night, there will be a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Skies will be mostly cloudy with lows in the mid-40s. Southwest winds will be 6 to 11 mph becoming light and variable.

Friday is forecast to have a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11 a.m. The skies will be partly sunny with temperatures of around 55 degrees.  New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth-of-an-inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Mostly cloudy skies with lows in the mid-40s is forecast for Friday night, which will give way to mostly sunny skies on Saturday with highs in the upper 50s.

Daily convoy passage on Highway 1 over the slip-out near Rocky Creek Bridge was suspended for Thursday and Friday because of rain in the forecast for those days, while the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office issued an Evacuation Warning for those south of the area on Wednesday.

After the last convoy on Wednesday afternoon, Highway 1 is now currently closed to the public for a stretch of about 40 miles from the north at Palo Colorado Road – post mile 61.7 – to just south of Limekiln State Park – post mile 20.

“We’ve had our eyes on (the slip-out) continuously,” said Caltrans spokesman Kevin Drabinski. “It looks like it has not advanced any more and that’s a good sign.”

But Drabinski also warned that because it happened so recently and was “likely” caused by ground being saturated they felt it prudent to close the road if it rained and wanted to give the residents notice in plenty of time to make plans.

The slip-out last Saturday occurred during heavy rain which crumbled part of southbound Highway 1 near Rocky Creek Bridge into the Pacific. This latest event took place at post mile 60, about 17 miles south of Monterey, and left only the northbound lane usable for convoys.

Convoys are expected to resume Saturday at 8 a.m., according to Caltrans, but engineers will continue to monitor the site for any significant changes. The public will be advised of any modifications to this schedule.

Assuming the convoys do resume, residents will be inconvenienced but life would be “pretty manageable,” said Kirk Gafill, head of the the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce.

What wouldn’t be manageable would be a long-term closure at Rocky Creek Bridge, Gafill said, noting the damages to the visitor-driven economy could add up to $1 million a day.

“It’s absolutely essential that that single lane be made open to the public at the earliest opportunity,” Gafill said, “so that businesses can reopen and employees return to work.”





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