Rocky Butte?

Rocky Butte? title=
Rocky Butte?
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By John Wiley

The KEYT weather reporters keep talking about Rocky Butte rainfall, and in this last storm it was clear what that's the case. Storms like this last one can really dampen that peak (22" as I recall). I've long wondered exactly where it is, and gMaps first sent me to a spot that's obviously wrong. So I finally looked it up in detail and and found the actual rain gauge on gMaps sat view at 35.674836,-121.053481 7.7 miles ENE of the Hwy.1 Hearst Castle access road. Then I found it in this distant aerial zoom pic from one of our flights along Big Sur. Rocky Butte of course is the peak near the center, and you can just make out the nearby knoll with towers at the top-left corner. I've created a similar gMaps 3D sat view at goo.gl/maps/yvimpemSJ372 and a 2D sat view of the rain gauge at goo.gl/maps/oLCHikBtYCM2 with a "pin" on it between two buildings with tall transmitter towers. Now when they say Rocky Butte we'll have a visual. Next time we fly past, shall we go closer for more pix?

 
 
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John Wiley Mar 26, 2018 02:40 PM
Rocky Butte?

I'm glad to see that others were curious about Rocky Butte. When I first noticed the mention of it on KEYT weather reports, I thought it was someplace in SB County I'd never heard of. Later I realized it's SLO County, and got even more curious when noticing it had consistently high rainfall totals in many storms. From that and the name I assumed it's in the coastal mountains, but then was curious why it's not on one of the higher peaks. Now that I know where it is, my guess is the placement has to do with predicting how much rainfall at that location will end up in downstream reservoirs (Nacimiento?). Big rainfall numbers also have news value it seems, especially in drought. Anyway, the SLO news article's pic of the rain gauge helped me find the exact spot on gMaps, because of the tree, structure, and giant tower in the background.

Flicka Mar 26, 2018 09:06 AM
Rocky Butte?

Is that area Santa Barbara County? Seems far away to concern us.

John Wiley Mar 26, 2018 02:49 PM
Rocky Butte?

Sorry about that, Flicka. I almost didn't submit this to Ed, but then thought maybe others have been curious about it. Wish I'd had better pix to send with it. Especially because I seem to have a fascination for unusual rock formations and geology. Speaking of which, I presume the butte itself is volcanic, and maybe associated with the chain that includes SLO's string of "Sisters" from Morro Rock (and probably offshore underwater formations) and also a cool rock on Hwy.1 in Big Sur. Anyway, it seems relevant to SB due to KEYT's frequent mentions so I'm glad Ed published it and that people are interested.

tagdes Mar 26, 2018 10:18 AM
Rocky Butte?

Reading the article and comments which I often do prior to commenting it would appear to be in SLO county as both Hearst Castle and Lake Nacimiento are there. So yes it does not concern us, just a little and very interesting...I might add, travel tidbit sort of like the annual rainfall on Kauai.

TWOSCOOPS Mar 26, 2018 08:58 AM
Rocky Butte?

I always wondered why the totals were so high at Rocky Butte. Thanks, John, for this eye-opening coverage.

a-1571383278 Mar 26, 2018 08:53 AM
Rocky Butte?

We were curious, too, so I found this article that explains it. I gather that the water ends up in Lake Nacimiento. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article204418554.html

CivilEngineer Mar 26, 2018 08:31 AM
Rocky Butte?

Nothing like putting a rain gage at the top of a peak subject to orographic effects and high winds. Maybe it was the only accessible spot in the area? But usually you want to locate your rain gages in a spot that gives you a sense of the average rain fall in the area for water supply studies and also for flood warning purposes. Unless you just want to provide impressive numbers for the forecasters.

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