Evacuation warning issued near Big Sur Highway 1 landslide

Officials are urging residents who live near the latest Big Sur landslide — where a chunk of cliffside roadway crashed into the ocean — to evacuate as more rain approaches, warning that emergency vehicles will not be able to access homes and businesses along an almost 30-mile stretch of scenic Highway 1.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning Wednesday morning for Big Sur communities ahead of the anticipated showers and thunderstorms, which officials worry could further destabilize or damage the roadway — the only route in or out for almost 1,400 residents.

The evacuation warning has been issued for residents living in the area stretching south from the recent landslide near the Rocky Creek Bridge in Carmel-by-the-Sea to just north of the Dolan Point Slide, where another road closure has been in effect since a January 2023 landslide.

Officials already announced a temporary halt to the twice-a-day, one-lane convoys that have allowed locals and essential workers to drive past the Rocky Creek slip-out. In light of the rains, there will be no convoys on Thursday and Friday.

“If you are in an Evacuation Warning zone, consider leaving before the road closure,” Monterey County officials said in a statement. “The road is anticipated to be closed for several days until the weather event passes through the area. If you feel unsafe, medically fragile, or are unprepared to be isolated for several days, leave immediately.”

Residents were encouraged to evacuate north through the last convoy running Wednesday at 4 p.m., before that stretch of Highway 1 is fully closed.

“Emergency Medical Services may be unable to evacuate patients beyond the road closures,” county officials said. “Those experiencing an emergency medical condition may be unable to leave the area to access hospitals or other medical services.”

A cold Pacific storm is expected to bring rain and cool temperatures across California as early as Wednesday night.

While National Weather Service officials said it’s not a particularly wet storm, rainfall totals along the Big Sur coastline could still reach a half-inch Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service. But thunderstorms could drive heavier rainfall in some local areas, meteorologists said.

County officials are worried that those amounts could cause additional damage along Highway 1, the statement said.

The initial slip-out on Saturday occurred as a storm dumped heavy rain on the region. Rain has continued to threaten Highway 1, causing damaging mudslides and landslides.

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