DISCUSSION: In more than 5 years California had seen unprecedented precipitation starting Fall 2016-Spring 2017. These rains have brought both positivity and negativity to the residents of California. Californians can celebrate as its drought monitor has shown as far back at October 2016 when consistent rains began in the area there was no percentage area not covered by some D0-D4 drought, showing 100 percent of the state experiencing D0-D4 drought, conditions that plagued California for over 5 years. In comparison to the past reported week of May 16th 2017, the state is rid of 76.47% of drought while 23.53 of the state experiences from D0-D4 which can be seen in southern California. These improvements may increase crop yields, economy and livelihoods within the state.
Conversely California has now had to address the dramatic amounts of precipitation seen in the past several months. The deluge of precipitation has brought concern among water infrastructure, dam capacity, flooding, and of recent concern landslides and mudslides. One of the most highly impacted locations due to increased water retention is the area along the Big Sur Coast between Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Within the past two months the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge had been demolished due to the excess damage it experienced due to localized landslides. This structure originally built in 1968 is expected to be replaced this year with a reopening of September with a cost of $24 million (Caltrans). These costs do not include the difficulties Big Sur residents are now facing as some cannot pass northbound into Monterey County, likewise Big Sur coast is typically a scenic tourist location which is already seeing increased financial difficulties as visitors cannot visit due to the temporary road closures.
Earlier this week (May 20th, 2017) a major landslide impacted the Big Sur area, extending about a quarter mile with Highway 1 covered in nearly 40 feet deep of rock and dirt. The road is closed indefinitely with no indications for opening in sight. The increased landslides seen in this area are attributed to the influx of precipitation the area received within the past 6 months. There has been relief lately however this rain-packed season has proved challenging for Big Sur residents and employees.
For more updates on droughts and weather visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
California, Caltrans State of. "Caltrans Removes Damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, Plans to Quickly Re-build." Caltrans Title. Tamie McGowen, 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 24 May 2017.
"Maps And Data." United States Drought Monitor > Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.