NORTH COUNTY — During the past week, the North County experienced icy winter storm conditions. Starting on Feb. 1 and 2 rain and winds up to 40 to 60 mph with gusts as high as 80 mph pummeled homes and businesses. Temperatures dipped into the teens and 20s. Trees fell over and power was cut in many areas on Saturday in Atascadero and Templeton. Halcon Road in Atascadero washed out once again late on Saturday, according to local residents and officials.
The winter storms over the past week produced a total of 5.76 inches of rain for Atascadero and 3.54 inches for Paso Robles bringing the season totals for Atascadero to 16.56 inches and for Paso Robles to 13.47 inches.
Monday, Feb. 4 brought more rain and falling trees. A rainbow appeared a few times over Atascadero Lake, captured by local photographer Wesley Frame. The lake was quite full by then and threatened to pour over the spillway. Creeks in the area and the Salinas River were flowing. Paso Robles Fire and Emergency personnel rescued a woman from the Salinas River.
San Luis Obispo County Public Works also reported that the Salinas Reservoir (Santa Margarita Lake) had started to spill on Sunday at 10 a.m. and by Monday it had overflowed three feet above the spillway.
Tuesday morning many North County residents awoke to a thick blanket of frost that looked like snow. Another rainbow made an appearance over Atascadero and PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey shared on social media that the “intermittent showery nature of this system should produce plenty of rainbows.”
By Tuesday afternoon it had hailed twice, the events captured by local photographer Rick Evans who posted a video on social media and by the staff at the Atascadero News.
Snow had also arrived in the mountains surrounding the County.
California Highway Patrol reported multiple car accidents on Highway 101 on Wednesday morning between 4:15 and 9 a.m. CHP Officer Patrick Seebart said that between Curbaril Avenue and Santa Barbara Road, the CHP had responded to 15 crashes. A section of northbound Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and San Diego was closed for about an hour and a half. CHP reported earlier in the morning that there had been six crashes already when they pleaded on Twitter for drivers to slow down and use caution. Seebart added that there were a few more crashes off Highway 101 that brought the total to almost 20 crashes. All crashes were related to “speed in relation to the ice on the roads,” Seebart said.
Linne Road in Paso Robles to Penman Springs Road was closed around 8:58 a.m. on Wednesday due to a vehicle collision and downed power pole. Pacific Gas and Electric were able to make repairs and the road was reopened by 2:19 p.m. Social media posts were in a flurry of activity during the day as several videos were shared showing light snow in Paso Robles. By Wednesday, Lake Nacimiento had filled to 48 percent capacity.
On Thursday, Feb. 7, Wendy Lewis, CEO of the El Camino Homeless Shelter, posted on social media saying that due to the freezing temperatures there is an “urgent need for cold weather items to pass out during ECHO Homeless Shelter dinner and shower program” which is open to all facing hunger or homelessness. Lewis said donations can be dropped off at ECHO anytime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 6370 Atascadero Ave. If you have a question you can also call ECHO at 805-462-3663 or visit echoshelter.org.
The Atascadero Warming Center is also asking for chaperones to keep the center operating. They need volunteers to sign up for one of two shifts — from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and a 1 a.m to 7 a.m. If you are interested, contact Ann at 805-441-4897.
As of Thursday, there had been no ice-involved crashes, Seebart said. The weather forecast does predict more rain on Friday and Sunday. In addition, more rain is predicted for Wednesday and Thursday of next week.