Early Storm Brought Needed Rain

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 23, 2022

Morro Bay got a good soaking of rain last week in the first big storm to blow through in the newly started rainy season.

Tracy McConnell, the administrative technician at the Fire Department, who tracks rainfall for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the storm that struck Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 7-8 dropped a total of 0.91-inches of rain, nearly a full inch as measured at the Harbor Street Firehouse.

We also saw a significant rainstorm, remnants of a Pacific Hurricane, stream into our area in mid-September, and drop some good rain for a summer storm.

On Sept. 18-19, McConnell reported, they measured 0.34” of rain, and had 0.07” in a brief storm over Sept. 10-11.

Morro Bay had seen a return in recent weeks of its normal summertime weather — foggy and cold. But to find any measurable rainfall before the September rains, you’d gave to go back to April 22, when we got 0.32” of rain, according to McConnell’s records.

City maintenance crews were out in the storm, and made quick work of removing one tree that fell across a roadway. They also did a lot of work before the storm hit.

Dale Simpson, the City’s Maintenance Supervisor, said “Maintenance staff has done significant preparation for the anticipated rains. We have been performing our annual storm drain inspections and cleaning. We have cleaned several abandoned encampments that were in storm drain areas.”

Normally, the City would dump a big pile of sand on Atascadero Road across from the old sewer plant, and let citizens fill sandbags in preparation for flooding. Sandbags are sold at the hardware store. But continuing construction on Atascadero Road for the City’s WRF project is mucking it up.

“We do not have sand available currently,” Simpson said. “With the ongoing construction going on down Atascadero Road and especially at our Corp Yard, we don’t want to encourage more traffic in the area.”

The spot where sand is normally piled is currently inaccessible behind temporary fencing for the project’s lay-down area. There’s also a lot of large pieces of equipment moving about on the road, which has Anvil Builder’s crew flagging traffic. 

“We currently struggle, at times to get in and out of our shop to perform our duties due to the construction being performed in the area.”

Plus, an 83-room motel is also currently under construction, but when the high school lets out, the area really turns into a traffic snarl.

Morro Bay and in fact all of California has seen below average rainfall since the big storms of Spring 2017, with much of the state in severe drought conditions.

But an early November rainstorm, that also brought snow to the Sierras, could be a good sign that this winter will see a return to more normal rainfall.

“Hopefully, we will see some more rain soon,” said McConnell.

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