San Mateo Creek Flows Again!

14 01 2017
Looking southeast at the estuary/lagoon.  Note the breach to the right.

Looking southeast at the estuary/lagoon. Note the breach to the right.

It’s been a few years, but the San Mateo Creek watershed “sponge” finally got full and started to overflow.  That is, all the soils upstream got full of water and started to seep/flow into the gullies that make up the watershed.  And, down to the creek bed and out to the ocean.

The last time it really flowed significantly was in December 2010; and flow it did, for almost six months.  It will be interesting to see how long it continues to flow with the off and on storms predicted over the next week or more.

The Trestles and the watershed.

The Trestles and the watershed.

Could the Southern California drought finally have broken?  Too early to tell, but it’s off to a good start.

Word is the creek broke out of the estuary/lagoon through the sand berm and out onto the reef at Uppers this morning.  You can see by the mud plumes in the ocean that it has been flowing for several hours at the time of these photos about 4:00 p;m today.

As happens with natural water courses, each time it breaks out, the flow “braids” to a new path.  We all got used to the “lagoon” that was dug out by the 2010 storms.  This time, the flow shoots straight out, dumping a lot of sand, and probably some cobbles, on top of the reef just north of what we call “Garcia-land,”  which is the north shoulder of the point. Wonder what new shape the bottom will take now.  Maybe a lagoon on each side of the point?  Maybe a  “north bay” and a “south bay?”

From over Garcia-land.  Notice the muddy surfline water.

From over Garcia-land. Notice the muddy surfline water.

Enjoy the photos.  A video may show up over the next few days.

Liquid gold.

Liquid gold.

Filling the reef with sand.

Filling the reef with sand.

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2 responses

14 01 2017
jeff weekley

Hey Norris –

Nice pictures. I was there yesterday when it broke through at 11:00 AM. It flowed very strong for about two hours then started to back off to a steady stream. I went out and the flow blew me way out to sea before I was able to get back to the surf zone. It was a chocolate mess. Let’s hope if flows for a while and it grooms some nice barrels for us.

See you in the water.

Jeff

14 01 2017
Norris

Very cool. Must have been fun to watch. Amazing power of water — probably broke through quicker than using a D9 Caterpillar.

The other thing that is nice to note is that the San Mateo watershed is so pristine that the only real health threat is the bacteria that may come from deer or rabbit droppings. I still wouldn’t recommend taking a swig of that chocolate the first couple days.

Surf well my friend!

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