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Atmospheric river belatedly brings strong wind, rain to Monterey County – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY — While the atmospheric river took time to drop down into Monterey County Sunday night after bringing record-breaking rain to the San Francisco Bay Area, it drenched most parts of the county overnight.

Before the rain arrived on the Monterey Peninsula shortly before midnight, gusty winds had already started knocking down trees and causing power outages. The strongest gust in Monterey County was 61 mph at Old Coast Tower in the Santa Lucia Range. Pebble Beach saw gusts up to 51 mph Sunday night.

The Santa Lucia Range bore the brunt of the storm as usual, with 9.14 inches of rain falling at Chalk Peak over 48 hours while the Monterey Airport received 2.02 inches over that period. Some rain gauges on the Monterey Peninsula saw just over 3 inches of rain, while the Salinas Airport received 1.42 inches.

PG&E crews responded to many outages through the night, with thousands of customers losing power. As of noon Monday, 2,726 customers remained without power.

Eleanor Dhuyvetter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the heaviest rain fell between 10 p.m. and 2-3 a.m. in Monterey County.

“It got in pretty late, but once the heaviest rain started falling there were some minor impacts with a lot of nuisance flooding,” said Eleanor Dhuyvetter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “I know some parts of Monterey had some issues with nuisance stuff, like 1 to 2 feet on the roads. And that kind of lasted through the night.”

Road crews with Caltrans, Monterey County and local municipalities were hard at work overnight to move fallen branches out of roadways and clear flooding. Maher and Murphy roads in North Monterey County closed due to flooding as did Hartnell and Alisal roads south of Salinas. In Marina, Beach Road at Reservation Road flooded overnight but crews cleared the water by the morning commute time.

While Highway 1 southbound in the Big Sur area near Grimes Canyon closed due to a rockslide, it was reopened by 9 a.m. after crews cleared out the rocks.

“We did not have any significant damage to the roadway,” said Kevin Drabinski, a Caltrans District 5 spokesman. “We had our crews out on the weekend doing our usual storm patrol to identify any rockfall. There was rockfall at various locations, but that has been cleaned up.”

A flash flood warning was issued near 3 a.m. for the Dolan Fire burn scar area but it was allowed to expire as the rain tapered off.

“There’s always extra concern below burn scar areas and that’s especially true in Big Sur,” Drabinski said. “We’ll continue to monitor the performance of our drainage infrastructure.”

Monterey County closed Jacks Peak Park in Monterey Monday due to the severe weather, high winds and debris on the roads and trails. The county also closed San Lorenzo Park in King City due to urban flooding from an impacted drainage structure Monday while crews clean up and drain the water.

A high surf warning that went into effect Sunday night is set to expire Tuesday morning, with large breaking waves at 20-30 feet at west/northwest facing beaches in the area. The weather service warned of an increased risk of sneaker waves, large breaking waves and rip currents.

Dhuyvetter with the weather service said things will get back to normal as Monterey County dries out and warms up over the coming days.

“As far as another chance for rain reaching this far south, we are not going to see that in the next seven days,” she said.

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