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October 1, 2023

Storm soaks San Benito County

Weather sources predict more rain later this month

The atmospheric river storm that drenched the Central Coast over the last few days dumped more than 2.5 inches of rainfall on San Benito County from Dec. 12-15, according to weather sources.

The only major damage or disturbance reported locally from the rainfall was a mudslide on Southside Road near Blossom Lane, in southwest San Benito County.

Southside Road was closed to vehicle traffic on Dec. 14, as soon as county officials learned of the slide. Crews were at the site all day clearing debris and making repairs.

Also at the time the slide occurred, county officials noted there was flooding on Dec. 14 on Southside Road near Vineyard Estates.

As of 10am Dec. 15, Southside Road was still closed at the site of the slide, according to county spokesman David Westrick.

No other major damage or flooding has been reported in San Benito County due to the storm, Westrick said.

Overall, San Benito County’s rainfall averages from the latest storm didn’t produce the dramatic precipitation totals that soaked other nearby regions. According to the Weather Underground website, Hollister received about 2.63 inches of rain from Dec. 12-15.

As of the end of November, San Benito County has received a total of 4.04 inches of rain, according to the San Benito County Water District website. That puts the county on pace to reach or surpass its annual seasonal rainfall of about 12.9 inches.

The water district’s rainfall measurements are updated monthly, and do not include data from the latest storm.

The atmospheric river also brought high winds to the region, prompting the National Weather Service and local authorities to issue advisories on Dec. 12-13. Gusts topping 20mph were reported in San Benito County.

In Monterey County, authorities briefly issued evacuation orders in some areas out of concern for debris flows and flooding caused by the stormy weather. The order was called on Dec. 13 off River Road, such as Pine Canyon Road, Trimble Hill, Mesa Road, Manzanita Way, Wildwood Way, Redding Drive, Belmont Circle and the southwest end of Berry Drive.

The Monterey County evacuation order was downgraded to a warning Dec. 14. The warnings were lifted by Tuesday afternoon.  

The National Weather Service is predicting more rain in Hollister this week, with a slight chance on Dec. 15 rising to a 90% likelihood of precipitation by the evening, according to the NWS website at Morning showers are forecast Dec. 16, with conditions drying up through Dec. 19.

Then on Dec. 20, more rain is predicted in Hollister every day through Dec. 29, the NWS website says. The chance of rain for each of those days varies from 35% to 76%.

A single lane was opened late Tuesday afternoon on Southside Road near Blossom Lane in Hollister after the road had been closed in both directions earlier due to a mudslide and flooding from the atmospheric river storm. Photo: Juan Reyes
A resident who lives on Southside Road near Blossom Lane in Hollister drives in his golf cart after a mudslide blocked the road. Photo: Juan Reyes
Southside Road, Dec. 14. Photo: Juan Reyes
Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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