They named it an atmospheric river. Warnings of death, destruction, and flooding were predicted. However, a few days into the forecast proved to be an underwhelming start to the storm. We were merely hit with what appeared to be a normal amount of rain.
Within a few days, the weather increased intensity to a force we have not experienced in years. I happened to be on a business trip in San Diego, but the entire Bay Area, and Central Valley was top of mind on every news station and digital platform. At one point the flooding was so bad there was a concern upon my return if would be cut off from any road leading to the Central Valley.
Yes, unfortunately death and destruction were part of the equation. One of my most feared travel routes daily, is driving 101 Southbound through the eucalyptus trees in Aromas. In periods of excessive rain, the ground saturates with water, and eucalyptus trees have a shallow root system. During this storm several eucalyptus trees fell across the highway, and on cars. More than a handful of people sadly lost their lives.
Another byproduct of the atmospheric river besides flooding, happens to be highway degradation. A large volume of water coupled with shear amount of travel, especially semi’s, causes massive potholes in the asphalt. A reliable source told me one tow company in Los Banos towed 20-25 automobiles daily because of bent rims, and blown-out tires resulting from these potholes.
In my opinion, the damaged highway is so dangerous, I’d recommend driving in the passing lane for you, and your families safety. We all have to practice patience until we see some sort of normalcy in the weather.
Again, we have not witnessed conditions like this in quite some time. The good news is that today’s technology has graced our lives in many ways to navigate through events like we just experienced.
Today with travel apps, we can see real-time events which allow us to make travel decisions on the fly. Run into traffic on your normal route? Use phone apps like Waze, or Google Maps, combined with an app named CARR (California Road Report).
Although this atmospheric river was highly unusual, no one knows what the future holds. Familiarize yourself with these apps. It doesn’t matter if you are a commuter, or hit the road occasionally, make them part of your app line-up. They literally save you time, and energy. Stay safe friends.