U.S.|Big Sur Urged to Evacuate as Another Storm Approaches

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/03/us/big-sur-evacuation-storm.html

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Officials are advising people to leave one of the nation’s most scenic coastal stretches before rain washes away more of Highway 1.

An overhead view of Highway 1 shows a chunk of the roadway missing, almost as if a bite has been taken. A small sandy strip and the Pacific Ocean are adjacent to the road.
Days after a portion of Highway 1 fell into the ocean near the Big Sur area of California, officials urged people to evacuate before the next storm.Credit…Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California officials temporarily shut down part of Highway 1 on Wednesday and warned residents to evacuate one of the nation’s most scenic coastal stretches as an incoming bout of spring rain threatened to worsen a road collapse near Big Sur.

The emergency orders, issued by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Transportation, came as the state and local authorities scrambled to rebound from a landslide last weekend in which a sizable portion of Highway 1 crumbled after a day of heavy rainfall.

The so-called slip-out, which stranded more than a thousand motorists overnight along the famous state highway, was the product of winter storms that for months have saturated California. The collapse sent massive chunks of pavement tumbling into the Pacific Ocean north of Big Sur and narrowed nearly two miles of road to a single lane.

For the last several days, state transportation officials have urged motorists to avoid the area and have gingerly shepherded local and emergency traffic around the missing section of highway. Jim Shivers, a spokesman for the state transportation agency, known as Caltrans, said the twice-daily convoys had accommodated an average of about 150 vehicles in each direction per day.

But with rain expected to return on Thursday and Friday, Caltrans canceled the convoys through Friday.

“They only expect about half an inch, but we don’t want to take any chances,” Mr. Shivers said. “It’s the end of a wet rainy season, so any additional moisture has the potential for additional landslide or mudslide activity.”


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