We’re finally getting some rain. Here is an updated chart of rainfall totals for Highlands Peak weather station at 2,400′ elevation.
Here are the totals for our big storm February 26 – March 2. The elevation gradient is always so interesting.
Rain Totals and Maximum Wind Gust :
Gatehouse 3.75″ , 45 mph
Whale Point 4″ , 51 mph
Highlands Peak 6.6″ , 70 mph
Mining Ridge 15.2″ , no wind data
You can explore the data at: http://bigcreek.ucnrs.org/weather/
It’s January but it looks like September. Most plants are dry, crispy, and hanging on through drought-induced senescence. Only in some areas are there some green grass shoots emerging. The creek is extremely low and our springs are starting to show a slight decline in output. This chart shows how severely low the rainfall totals were in 2013. The data are from Highlands Peak weather station, located at 2,500 feet elevation.
We received an unusually wet storm for this late in the Spring. The satellite image shows a system resembling a strong winter storm. For about 24 hours we had steady and heavy rain, especially in the Santa Lucia Mountains. Big Creek watershed was at the top of the list for precipitation counts for the entire central coast with Mining Ridge at 4,760′ elevation reaching 8.82 inches between Friday and Sunday, June 3-5. Highlands Peak (2,500′) got 3.59 inches and Whale Point (600′) received 1.82 inches. Feynner had to tie the foot bridge log at the beach again to keep it from going out to sea as the creek rose quickly. Not something we expected in June!
I looked at the blog record for storms of 2009 and found the “first big storm of 2009” entry. During that storm in February, the creek went from 1.8′ to 2.8′ with just 2-3 inches of rain. We got 9 inches that month at the Highlands Peak weather station.
Well, on October 13 alone, we recieved 9.6 inches at Highlands Peak and 5.3 at Whale Point. The NOAA rain gauge on Mining Ridge reported 22 inches fell from 3am the 13th to 7pm the 14th. This seems outrageous but no word yet if that was inaccurate. The level of the gauge pool at Big Creek went from 1.4′ to 5.5′. Big Creek was dark chocolate color while Devil’s Creek was milky brown. All over the banks of the creek was foamy bubbles. Here is a profile of the creek level over four days spanning the storm.
This storm originated as a cyclone off the southern tip of Japan and made it’s way across the Pacific to hit the California coast. The temperature during the storm was about 58 degrees F and even went up to 62 just after the rain stopped. The maximum wind gust at Whale Point was 46 mph and at Highlands Peak was 62 mph. The top of one of the cypress trees at the Gatehouse broke off. It was impressive to see that any of the alders and willows even had leaves at all afterwards.
Here’s a picture of the beach at 7am on the morning of the 14th.
The weather on the 14-15th was sunny and humid. There was a swarm of termites hatching everywhere. The phoebes, bluebirds and bats had their fill.