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Storm brings flooded roadways, high surf across San Luis Obispo County

Flooded Road
Vehicles drive through water across the road on South Thompson Avenue in Nipomo on Feb. 19, 2024. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

NIPOMO, Calif. – The latest round of rainfall has brought a number of storm-related issues throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Overnight rain measured between one to two inches in many parts of the county, as well as significantly higher totals in some of the upper elevations.

Heavy rainfall flooded several roadways, including on Highway 1, just north of the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county line near Guadalupe.

The highway is prone to flooding during rainstorms today was no different, as the water across the roadway forced the closure between Division Street and Oso Flaco Road.

"It's been another very busy time for our Caltrans maintenance and engineering crews," said Jim Shivers, Caltrans Public-Legislative Affairs Manager. "Our maintenance guys continue to be on storm patrol 24 hours a day so we can quickly respond to these areas that that may be subject to flooding."

A few miles away on Thompson Avenue in the Nipomo area, water spread fully across the roadway in a few different spots between Highway 166 and Tefft Street.

On the North Coast, a pair of rock slides on Highway 1 forced the closure of the iconic roadway about three miles north of the San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County line north of Ragged Point.

Caltrans said there is no estimate when the scenic highway will reopen.

In the Paso Robles area, a handful of roads were closed due to flooding conditions, including parts of Penman Springs Road, Airport Road and San Marcos Road.

Along with the latest round of rainfall, high surf has also arrived along the entire San Luis Obispo County coastline.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has placed a High Surf Warning for the county through 9 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, visitors to Port San Luis witnessed unusually high waves crash against the beach and Harford Pier.

"It's really wild and crazy today," said Mary Leal of Lemoore while taking pictures of the waves in the Harford Pier parking lot. "I noticed how the water is very, very dark close to the beach area, and out further, it's blue. It's kind of interesting to look at, but the surf is crazy. The boats are swinging back and forth around in circles. Not some place I would want to be."

The NWS indicated the High Surf Warning means large breaking waves of 14 to 20 feet with dangerous rip currents could be present, while flooding of sea water is likely, around the time of high tide, over vulnerable low-lying coastal areas such as parking lots, beaches, and walkways.

The heavy rainfall has swollen the Arroyo Grande Creek in Arroyo Grande and Oceano as it flows through both communities as it makes its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Last year, the waterway roared well over its banks during the barrage of rainstorms causing the damage to the levee.

In September, San Luis Obispo County began a months-long repair project to help protect the South County communities during another round of heavy rainfall.

On Monday, the creek was flowing steadily, but no major issues were reported.

"It's flowing good," said Oceano resident Jim Wolfe, while stopping to look at the creek as it passes under the bridge on 22nd Street. "It's very nice to see that there's no damage, you know, to see what people have worked their whole life for washed away."

Wolfe smiled as he watched the water flow Monday afternoon along with wife Mary, since the rain had moved out hours earlier and an almost clear blue sky could be seen overhead.

"The sun does a lot more for your mental attitude, gives you the strength to go on for another rainy day," said Wolfe.

Article Topic Follows: Weather News
san luis obispo county

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Dave Alley

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