Heads up, drivers: These SLO County roads are closed ahead of the weekend rain storm

Under the threat of heavy rain on Sunday, at least two roads and one campground were closed in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday.

Between Paso Robles and San Miguel, the California Highway Patrol closed San Marcos Road at both water crossings with San Marcos Creek “for the duration of the storm,” according to the CHP traffic log.

The CHP also closed nearby 20 Wellsona Road at the crossing with San Marcos Creek for the rest of the storm, the traffic log said.

On Jan. 9, 2023, 5-year-old Kyle Doan from San Miguel was swept away by San Marcos Creek floodwaters while his mom drove him to school during an atmospheric river storm.

The San Luis Obispo County Sherif’s Office called off active searches for Doan on Jan. 25, 2023.

Meanwhile, camping and creek crossings were closed at the Oceano Dunes on Thursday, according to a Facebook post by the Oceano Beach Community Association.

Atmospheric river storm forecast for the weekend

As of 9 a.m. Thursday, well over an inch of rain had fallen in some areas of the county, including around San Luis Obispo, Los Osos and the mountains northeast of Cambria, according to rainfall data from the county Public Works Department.

Scattered showers were in the forecast for Thursday night, while a second, more powerful atmospheric river storm was forecast to reach California beginning Sunday.

That storm was expected to slowly move through the Central Coast on Sunday night into Monday morning, bringing as much as 2 to 4 inches of rain during that period, according to the National Weather Service. However, some weather models show possibly even more rain could fall across the region.

Because the soils are already quite saturated from Wednesday evening’s storm, the Weather Service warns that the second storm could cause flooding.

“Rain rates around an inch per hour are possible at times during the peak of the storm, especially in up-slope areas,” the Weather Service wrote in its latest forecast for the second storm. “Citizens and authorities need to be aware of the likelihood of significant hydrologic issues, including: rock and mud slides in the mountains and flooding of small streams and rivers as well as significant rises on some of the larger rivers and streams.”