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UPDATE: Storm System Shifts Toward Central Coast; Evacuation Warnings Issued

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The National Weather Service on Sunday afternoon updated its Bay Area forecast to note that the atmospheric river has shifted its course southward, bringing more stormy weather than previously expected to the Big Sur/Santa Lucia areas of Monterey County.

As a result, Monterey County issued an evacuation warning around 5 p.m. for the Dolan burn scar area and areas in and around River Road in Salinas until Tuesday morning, as Sunday's atmospheric river storm system dumps heavy rain in the county.

Forecasters say rainfall will likely meet thresholds for increased risk of debris flow activity, especially in areas near the fires of Aug. 2020. Properties and people located below or downstream of the burn areas are at an increased risk.

Areas affected by the warning include Pine Canyon Road, Trimble Hill, Mesa Road, Manzanita Way, Wildwood Way, Redding Drive., Belmont Circle, the southwest end of Berry Drive, Limekiln Road and the 800 Block of River Road.

Highway 1 will be closed at Deetjen's Big Sur Resort (Postmile 42.1) and Ragged Point beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The closure is expected to remain in effect until Tuesday, when the transit agency will assess the conditions.

Caltrans said it's working with local agencies to minimize travel into Big Sur to allow residents and businesses to evacuate in the safest conditions possible. The closure of Highway 1 comes at the request of the California Highway Patrol.

For traffic updates on other state highways in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, call Caltrans district 5 public affairs at (805) 549-3318 or go to

For large-animal evacuation resources and information contact the SPCA for Monterey County at (831) 646-5534.

Officials say residents should remain vigilant and be aware of any land movement. If weather patterns change or land movement occurs, additional evacuation warnings or orders may be issued. If you are concerned about your safety or feel that your life is threatened, leave the area.

Those requiring additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave immediately, officials said. Debris flows are fast-moving masses of mud, rocks, boulders, trees and sometimes homes or vehicles. They move quickly and are often deadly to those in their path. The only way to avoid debris flows is to move to safety prior to any debris flow event.

PG&E Crew Trims Trees in Advance of Storm

A high wind warning was issued for Monterey and San Benito counties from 1 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, with gusts of up to 60 mph possible. Wind advisories are still in place for Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

There's a high likelihood that the Central Coast, including Monterey, Santa Cruz, Salinas and Hollister, will experience heavy rain, high winds, high surf and flash flooding on Sunday and Monday and a moderate risk of such weather events on Tuesday, along with possible snow.

Light rain and snow fell in Northern California earlier in the day, giving residents a taste of what's to come. The multi-day storm could drop more than 8 feet of snow on the highest peaks and drench other parts of California as it pushes south and east before moving out midweek.

"This is a pretty widespread event," said National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Wanless in Sacramento. "Most of California, if not all, will see some sort of rain and snow."

The precipitation will bring at least temporary relief to the broader region that's been gripped by drought caused by climate change.

The storm this week is typical for this time of the year but notable because it's the first big snow that is expected to significantly affect travel with ice and snow on the roads, strong wind and limited visibility, Wanless said. Drivers on some mountainous passes on Sunday had to wrap their tires in chains.

Officials urged people to delay travel and stay indoors. Rain could cause minor flooding and rockslides, especially in areas that have been scarred by wildfires, according to the forecast. Strong winds accompanying the storm could lead to power outages, forecasters said.

Karly Hernandez, a spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric, said the utility that covers much of California didn't have any major outages on Sunday. Crews and equipment are staged across the state to respond quickly if the power goes out, Hernandez said.

Rain fell intermittently across California on Sunday. Andy Naja-Riese, chief executive of the Agricultural Institute of Marin, said farmers markets carried on as usual in San Rafael and San Francisco amid light wind.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report

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