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Wednesday, December 18, 2002
As most are aware, last weeks storm was one of the worst in many years.
Rainfall measurements at the ranch ranged from 11 to 19 inches for the
entire storm. Winds were estimated to gust at 80 mph, though higher
speeds were reported by the weather service.
The Wickersham Ranch Road sustained moderate damage due to the clogging
of culverts and resulting overflow onto road surfaces. Numerous culverts,
including the largest ones, were blocked by abnormally large debris
flows that included large logs and boulders, according to several Owners who
have viewed the damage. Resulting overflows either damaged the road
surface or covered it with mud and debris.
Work is proceeding today and tomorrow to clear the culverts before the
next rains come. We are attempting to get catch basins open and remove
as much debris as possible from the inlets.
After the storms pass and the road has time to stabilize, we will
assess further immediate repairs that may be necessary. We anticipate some
work with a grader to restore road surfaces and water cuts.
Current damage is severe enough to require use of an excavator for
repairs, in particular to pick large logs and boulders out of the
drainage system. We considered using a rubber tire vehicle to spare the
road further damage, but risks of failure and entrapment were too
Use of the excavator will result in further disturbance of the road
surfaces. This means the road surface will be that much wetter and
muddier. We are asking that Owners use the road as little as possible
for the next few weeks. Please reduce the number of trips planned or
combine trips or vehicles via car pooling. Until the road has a chance to dry
and stabilize, all trips will cause further damage.
The damage that occurred this week was primarily caused by the storm
and the large amounts of water flowing through our drainage system. This
was an extreme storm occurring after several calm years. Debris loads in
the hills and drainages above the culverts, coupled with high winds adding
additional small, green debris, allowed catch basins to clog and then
In preparation for winter, all catch basins were cleared as part of the
summer work recently completed. Additionally, 8 culverts were replaced
this summer. Much of the current damage occurred at old undersized
culverts which are scheduled for replacement over the next 10 years as
resources permit. However the large 4 and 5 foot culverts were also
Owners should anticipate an accelerated replacement schedule for the
smallest remaining culverts as part of our Long Term Maintenance
Finally, we should all express great appreciation to the following for
their work during the storm to clear culverts and spare the road more
Art Viramontes and Family and Crew
Doug and Annie Porter
and anyone else who shoveled mud that we don't know about.
written by: Martin Dreiling