Skip to Content

Heading Into A Break

Here’s a look at your forecast for Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and southern Santa Clara Counties!

Rain and wind will taper off Tuesday evening with a few showers lasting in to early Wednesday AM. Dry weather is then expected Wednesday/Thursday, but additional river flooding is possible on the Pajaro and upper Salinas Rivers with flooding on the lower Salinas by Friday. Lower crests to those in recent days are expected, however. After a couple of dry days, a weak weather system will pass to our south on Friday, followed by another weak system which will move through our area Saturday bringing light rain. Another stronger system possible early next week. Highs look to remain below normal for this time of year.


… for a levee failure on the Pajaro River near river mile 10 in effect until 5pm Wednesday.

*Flooding caused by a levee failure continues.

*Flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations is imminent or occurring. This includes the city of Pajaro.

- At 7:43 AM, flooding will continue due to a levee failure on the Pajaro River.

- Between 1 and 2 inches of rain is expected by Tuesday afternoon.

- Some locations that will experience flooding include Pajaro.


…for Pajaro River at Chittenden in effect now until further notice.

*In coordination with the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency as well as Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties flooding is expected below the official flood stage along the Monterey County portion of the Pajaro River due to observed impacts from the January flood event.

*At 27.5 feet, Water may begin seeping under muscle wall along the Monterey County portion of the levees.
*At 28 feet, Levee along the Monterey County portion of the Pajaro may overtop.
*At 29.5 feet, Parts of State Highway 129 between US Highway 101 and Watsonville will flood. The entire Pajaro River will have moderate bank erosion and sediment deposition.

At 7:30 PM PDT Tuesday the stage was 18.1 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to begin rising again this evening in response to the rain and continued runoff.  The river is forecast to crest around 20.3 feet early Wednesday morning.

  - Flood stage is 32.0 feet.

... for the Salinas River from the San Luis Obispo County line to Soledad until further notice.

Moderate flooding is forecasted.

Motorists should not attempt to drive around barricades or drive cars through flooded areas. Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.

* IMPACTS...At 14 ft, Minor lowland flooding is expected.

- At 16 ft, Minor flooding of agricultural land is expected. The lower portions of the San Ardo oil fields is close to flooding.

...At 18 ft, Minor flooding begins at the San Ardo oil fields.Significant flooding occurs along the lowest portions of towns from Bradley to Soledad. Erosion will cause minor damage to agricultural land. Some secondary roads from Bradley to Soledad will flood.

- At 8:30 PM PDT Tuesday the stage was 12.7 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to rise above flood stage  just after midnight tonight and continue rising to a crest of 15.7 feet late tomorrow morning.

  - Flood stage is 14.0 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 15.3 feet on 01/27/1983.

… for the lower Salinas River from Soledad to Monterey Bay in effect from Sunday afternoon until further notice.

*Minor flooding is forecast. The Salinas River is forecast to reach minor flood stage by this afternoon and will continue rising, approaching moderate flood stage Monday evening.

*IMPACTS…At 23.0 feet, A few farm residences will begin to flood near the Salinas River along the reach of the gage. River Road will begin to flood near Spreckels.

- At 24.0 feet, Significant flooding of the lowest portions of agricultural land begins within the reach of the gage. River Road and Spreckels Boulevard begin to flood.

- At 26.0 feet, Moderate flooding of agricultural land and lower portions of Soledad, Gonzales, Chualar, Spence and Spreckels. Primary and secondary roads begin to flood within the reach.
Highway 68 begins to flood. Levees in danger of breaching along the reach. At least 20,000 acres of farm land inundated in the Salinas Valley.

- At 27.0 feet, Moderate flooding continues along the reach. Approaches to river bridges within the reach begin to erode. Lower portions of Castroville begin to flood. Highway 156 near Castroville begins to flood. Flooding to Foster Road, 1 mile of Salinas.

-At 28.0 feet, Major flooding of agricultural land within the reach of the gages. Major flooding begins along lower portions of Soledad, Gonzales, Chualar, Spence, Spreckels and Castroville. Water/sewage treatment plants in danger of being flooded. Many secondary and some primary roads inundated making travel difficult in the Salinas Valley. Highway 156 and 68 inundated and closed. Major damage to wide expanses of agricultural land in the Salinas Valley with 40,000 acres inundated.

- At 8:00 PM PDT Tuesday the stage was 24.2 feet.

  - Recent Activity...The maximum river stage in the 24 hours ending at 2:00 PM PDT Tuesday was 25.1 feet.

  - Forecast...The river is expected to fall below flood stage late tonight and continue falling to 22.4 feet by tomorrow Afternoon.

  - Flood stage is 23.0 feet.

  - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 24.5 feet on 02/08/1998.

Overnight: Mostly cloudy with a few sprinkles and patchy fog. Partial clearing by dawn. Cooler and breezy at times with lows in the 40s.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny but slightly cool. Highs in the 50s to 60s. Gusty northwest winds at times, tapering off late.

Thursday: Cold in the morning, then mostly sunny and warmer in the afternoon. Highs remain cool for this time of year, however, mainly in the upper 50s to mid 60s. Breezy at times.

Extended: A weak system passes by Friday, but we’ll probably stay dry. Another system comes through Saturday with some light rain followed but a potentially stronger system Monday/Tuesday. The pattern looks to remain active.

This week's normal temperatures:

LOW: 45ºF
HIGH: 64ºF

LOW: 42ºF
HIGH: 68ºF

-The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for March 22nd – 28th calls for the likelihood of BELOW normal temperatures and ABOVE normal precipitation.

- El Niño/La Niña STATUS: Neutral

- Forecast: Neutral through the summer with eventual development of El Niño
-Area drought status: 
Abnormally dry for the Santa Cruz Mountains, the lower valleys of San Benito County, and southern Santa Clara County

Article Topic Follows: Weather Authority
Author Profile Photo

Dann Cianca

Dann Cianca is the chief meteorologist at KION News Channel 5/46.


KION 46 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content