Coastsider operating out of Caffe Lucca. How’s the storm affecting you?

By on Tue, October 13, 2009

Power is down in our part of Montara, and we’ve set up shop at Caffe Lucca on Highway 1, where they still have power and Internet access.

Share your reports of the Great Storm of ‘09 in comments on this topic, or send us your photos and we’ll post them.

In the meantime, keep dry and stay home if you can.

Comment 1
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:07pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

As of noon today, the MWSD weather station recorded 2.66 inches of rainfall in Montara.

Meanwhile the National Weather Service allowed its flash flood warning to expire at 12:15 this afternoon, because the intensity of rain has been declining and is forecast to continue declining.

However a flash flood warning has been issued for the Lockheed Burn area of Santa Cruz County.

Comment 2
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:09pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

A tree is down at Highway 1 in Montara, at Seventh Street. The road is blocked as Caltrans and PG&E crews work on the problem.

Traffic is being routed through Montara on Main Street, so the Highway is still open.

So far, the storm isn’t as severe as the forecasters had predicted, in my opinion.

Winds on the coast have been moderate, typical of other storms - and nothing close to the 60 or 70 mph that had been predicted.

Rainfall has been relatively steady since about 3 a.m., averaging about 1/4 inch per hour with peaks at about 1/2 inch per hour. The total rainfall will definitely help recharge our local aquifers after the recent dry years.

My drive around the community earlier showed moderate flows in drainage ditches with no apparent flooding. San Mateo County’s recent improvements in the Cedar Street / Harte Street area may have helped reduce backups.

Montara Water and Sanitary District operates a rain gauge at our Alta Vista facility, which records hourly, daily, and monthly totals. Information is available in near-real-time at

Comment 4
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:13pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

The National Weather Service forecasts southerly winds of 20 to 35 mph, with gusts to 50 mph possible through tonight. The strong and gusty winds will gradually diminish late tonight.

Comment 5
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:19pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

We’ve gotten two reports that the back of Montara has power for a change.

A local PG&E guy who has been working on the problem says the power should be back on at Audubon/Acacia, where we live, in an hour or so.

I measured 3 inches of rain at 2:00 PM Tuesday in downtown Moss Beach.  Power has remained on.  Couple of cracked Monterey Cypress limbs.  A lot of fresh tree debris in streets.  Streets are slippery with water and tree debris.

Comment 7
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:21pm
All my comments

I don’t know that we’ve seen 60 mph down here at Lobitos Creek, but the winds have been impressive; certainly well in excess of 40. Our trees have lost whatever loose leaves and needles they had left over from the fall.

I’d rather not go outside to make a more precise measurement, but from the window it looks like more than 3 inches, with rain still falling.

We had a power outage earlier in the afternoon, but it lasted only five minutes or so. And a few minutes ago Sprint cell coverage (and my own net connection) went out, also more about five minutes.

We’re not seeing a lot of runoff, I suppose because the ground is (or rather was) pretty dry.

I live in downtown HMB, and it has been windy and heavy rain most of the day. Minor damage to our old house - window pane cracked and one of the pickets on the fence blew off.

Glad I’m working from home and didn’t have to drive anywhere!

Comment 9
Tue, October 13, 2009 1:42pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

I’m told the power is out in Artleta Park in HMB.

Meanwhile, Darin Boville, who shares a fence with us, has had power since 1pm.

HMB Police advise:  “Street closure at 300 & 400 blocks of Poplar in Half Moon Bay due to downed power lines.  No estimated time of restoration.”

Pacifica Sharp Park Library, 104 Hilton Way Pacifica is closed due to power outage.

Pacifica(Linda Mar)9:00 am, to SF via hwy 1 , 280, San Jose ave,
Out of SF on 19th, 280 to Los Altos-Palo Alto.
Palo Alto(3pm) Hwy 101 to 92, 280 - Skyline+Sharp Park into Pacifica+hwy 1 - Linda Mar.
Yes, very stormy, but, being is I do this or a slight variation of this trip multiple times per week, I noticed how drivers were, 99.9% being careful-slowing down,allowing merges at interchanges…..Dang, I’ve gotta say, this gives me great pride in our drivers+ our ability to tone it down when conditions dictate.
And, BTW, only saw 1 driver, out of all those many thousands, who didn’t have their headlights on as required by the vehicle code when windshield wipers were on.

Comment 13
Tue, October 13, 2009 3:54pm
All my comments

3.2” here (Lobitos Creek) as of the lull an hour ago. We had some dead trees down; all but one were considerate enough to stay out of the road. Radar suggests that we might see another smallish wave, but then again it might miss us to the south. Showers predicts through tomorrow morning.

Had to call for substitute teacher no getting to the city this morning.  Road closed around 8 and 10 when we tried. No good system for getting information. We were getting conflicting reports.  It would seem that flashing lights warning drivers to slow down would be nice at least until the tunnel opens. 

We are always careful but we all have to beware of careless drivers.  Enough tragedies! It is so sad to think of the woman who was hit by the other driver coming at her from the other side of the road…

We went through around noon and someone was tailgating me. Really getting there in one piece is more important than rushing! 

KCBS lists another accident at the slide @5:30 pm and it says an ambulance has been called. 511 alert system does not cover these incidents.

Thank goodness for Lucca’s this morning. Safe travels.


The MWSD rain gauge shows 3.71 inches total for the 15 hours ending at 6 p.m. Tuesday night, approximately 0.25 inches per hour.

That’s more than 10% of our average annual rainfall, and much of it soaked in nicely.

Power is finally back on in Montara!  Thanks so much to all the fine folks with PG&E and the others working in this awful storm. We saw a great deal of them filing into Cafe Lucca for hot coffee and a break from the Rain.

Thanks too to Mary and Donna at Cafe Lucca who saved us this afternoon sharing their power, internet, Paninis, and humor! 

And Darin buddy - I hate you man! ;->  I kept looking across the yard at the lights on in your place wondering what a difference 50 feet makes!

I received the following from Juliette Kulda by email:

This morning at 7:47am: On the way to drop my kids off at Good Shepherd in Pacifica I came across the fatal accident that closed devil’s slide all morning. We passed it seconds after it happened and saw the 3 cars involved, one of which was very smashed. I saw the look of fear on the lady driver’s face as she was stuck in her car behind the wheel. I was fortunate to save my children from watching the scene as I chose to pass through the debris before the emergency vehicles came and blocked the road. The accident was on the very wooded narrow down hill part of devil’s slide just passed the new bridge. (they did not go over the slide) Meanwhile I waited out the day at Starbucks and caught up on many emails. My prayers go out to all involved, especially the family of the deceased. Please drive slowly!!

We lost a window at Ink Spell Books in HMB.  It was cracked to begin with so not a big shock, but that wind was COLD!  Thank you to Steve who came running over with a big piece of plywood!

Next door at LaDiDa we lost the newest tree on the street.

We’ll be cozy tomorrow for Story Time and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the Farralone View Kindergarteners.  They’ll get to see our new plywood window!

>>nd Darin buddy - I hate you man! ;->  I kept looking across the yard at the lights on in your place wondering what a difference 50 feet makes!<<

Oh, don’t be jealous. It’s flu-city over here. No fun, light out or lights on…

Power went out again later on (7-ish?) for a few minutes and for a second or two in between (4-ish?). Major pain when you are dong long computer rendering!


Down here in the San G, the winds were almighty terrific!  Both up on the ridgeline at a friend’s house and down at my own, tucked on the leeward side of a ridge, the winds blew non-stop.  When the gusts blew hard, I’d check wunderground and found wind gusts clocked at 50 to 60 mph, with a wind speed consistent at 30 mph all day.

Wind sounds different when rushing through pines vs. redwoods.  Higher pitch in pines.  Redwood tree bases do not move, even when the upper half of the trunk is tossing about.  The scent of Laurel Bays in the storm is more freshly fragrant than at any other time.

Rain pounded 2” depressions into the dirt hillsides.  The cat and dog both were not stoked.

I can no longer find my asphalt drive buried under the thousands of redwood branchlets.  The creek did rise and I can hear it from my house now. 

A drink at the San Gregorio Store and dinner at Mezzaluna perfected the day.

When’s our next storm?

Here’s the report from the Alsace Lorraine area of HMB:

I measured 2.92” on my automated weather station on top of my roof and 3.27” on my manually read CoCoRaHS rain guage in my back yard. I probably should recalibrate my rooftop guage since it seems to be consistantly about 10% low.

I had at least 2 high wind gusts of 49 mph, several hours apart.

For those interested, my automated station readings, updated every minute or so, can be viewed at:

I am also a weather spotter in case anyone might be interested in volunteering. CoCoRaHS stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, a nationwide collection of volunteers who send in their rain guage readings daily as well as snow and hail reports. We all use identical rain guages so that the readings can be compared equally.


Comment 22
Thu, October 15, 2009 11:55am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Rob Carey at Coastside video posted a video of pg&e repairing lines in Montara. This was the line that kept our lights out until 8:30ish.

I was one of the on-call volunteers for First Flush water sampling.  We got the call a bit before 6 am to mobilize.  I must say… I’ve never before in my life been that wet with my clothes on.  (I’m going to have to take the suggestion to buy some waterproof pants at REI.)  You can’t truly appreciate what a storm that was unless you spend an hour outside in it, and I don’t mean in a car.

I was somewhat boggled by the amount of water coming out of the Isabella St drainage outfall onto Surfer’s Beach, one of the sampling locations.  And it was pretty gross-looking water.