Canyon Roads Jam In 3-Day Window For Storm Prep – PCH Computer Glitch Jams PCH – Caltrans Plastic Flows Into Ocean – What is the Malibu Water Supply Outlook?

Written by on January 12, 2023

This is Malibu’s Only Local Daily News … the Thursday edition … I’m Hans Laetz reporting. 


Support for KBUU Radio comes from Rancho del Cielo.

For 8 years now … Rancho del Cielo has been a partner bringing public radio to the Malibu.


Storms Give Malibu 3 Day Break, 3 Canyon Roads Jammed Yesterday

The Malibu area is getting three days of relative calm … but more storms are on the way.

Yesterday … traffic was snarled when Caltrans had to perform some emergency rock removal on lower Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

That corked up dozens of motorists in lower Topanga … many of whom tried to squeeze out to PCH up the backroad through Fernwood … and then down Tuna Canyon.

That’s always a gamble … and yesterday … a losing bet. 

A rockslide at the bottom of tuna Canyon corked up dozens of cars within sight of PCH … but with no way to get there.

Other than turning around … driving back up Tuna Canyon … traversing along the top spine of the Santa Monica Mountains … and then back down LAs Flores Canyon.

That is a half hour scenic tour in good weather … and yesterday was not good weather up at the top of the mountains.

So many people got lost or were driving up private driveways that some people in the Fernwood neighborhood pleaded with the CHOP to close the roads.

CHP said call the city council if they want a street closed.

There is no city council in Topanga.

In Malibu canyon … city crews worked at the bottom … and county crews worked in the middle of the canyon to remove storm debris from the side of the road.

That meant heavy equipment and dump trucks blocking traffic … with one way traffic control.

As late as 6 last night … traffic was at a complete standstill in Malibu … with commuters trying to get around the Topanga Canyon mess by going through Malibu Canyon …which had a mess cleanup of its own.

City officials had planned to install electric signs along PCH that could warn commuters to avoid bottlenecks in canyons.

But those efforts were defeated when some Big Rock residents objected to the intrusion on their views of the coast.

Turning back to the weather … it looks like we’re in for a week for rain ahead … but after that … it looks like dry weather will return.

Maybe even drought conditions.

UCLA’s Daniel Swain says long range computer models agree  … they all suggest a return to a West Coast high pressure ridge pattern in about 9-10 days (by Jan 20)

Swain says this will probably give  folks a much-needed chance to dry out and dig out.


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Based in Malibu … Saguaro Technology offers software development and other engineering services across the entire product life cycle… and across several industries.

Life sciences, automation, robotics. 

Saguaro Technology engineers work side-by-side with the client to extend engineering teams… to create and launch products faster… and more cost effectively. 

Saguaro Technology can be reached at


PCH Was Flood Free, But PCH Traffic Jam Blamed On Age-Old Signal Problem

And this note … for three days now … Pacific Coast Highway has frequently been jammed coming out of Santa Monica.

It appears that that Caltrans traffic computer at the twin traffic signals at Entrada Drive … Channel Road and Chautauqua Boulevard are still malfunctioning.

We have timed those two short spaced signals giving just a 20 second green interval for traffic heading up the coast.

Because the signals are 200 feet apart … that means only about 12 cars per cycle can get through.

In normal times … those green cycles last 4 minutes.

This is in the City of Los Angeles … which repeatedly refuses to send traffic control officers to PCH to handle Caltrans traffic problems. 

For our 25 years in Malibu … we have repeatedly seen Caltrans …LAPD … LA city Department of Transportation … Santa Monica … LA County … Malibu .. the local Council of Governments and Metro all point fingers at each other.

State senators and representatives set up task forces that regularly meet to talk about PCH problems. 

And for 25 years … cars inch out of the tunnel and generate tons of pollution while they move up to the malfunctioning traffic light. 


Support for KBUU Radio comes from Sea N Soul Surf, at Zuma Beach Plaza

A coffee barista … the locals’ place to find entry level surfboards for a grom … or a handshaped blade for a pro. 

Sea N Soul Surf… clothing, coffee and boards for the Malibu lifestyle … under Spruzzo’s …across from Zuma Beach.


Sand Loss At Zuma, Westward, Pt Dume Beaches, As Caltrans Lets Plastic Drift Into Ocean

Nothing official … but by all appearances … Malibu’s beaches may have been washed away at a greater extent than any other stretches of sand in the Los Angeles County area this month. 

Near Point Dume … sand has virtually disappeared from most of the beaches between Point Dume and Birdview.

The road linking Westward Beach to the point is now sitting atop a rock revetment nearly the whole way … with no appreciable beach left at all except for right at the point. 

A spokesperson for LA County Beach And Harbors says workers are continuing to move in rocks to shore up the trouble areas, specifically at Point Dume.

At Zuma Beach … the elevation of the sand has decreased dramatically.

High tides are getting very close to the parking lot … in some cases … water and foam was seen blowing onto the pavement. 

At Trancas Creek … several boulders that rolled out to sea in the flood four years ago are visible in the surf line. 

The entire beach at Trancas is washed away … and cobbles and rocks puncture the surface in great numbers.

High tides have washed large clumps of seaweed well past the PCH bridge .. up Trancas Creek.

The construction project at Trancas Creek has been inundated … but not significantly damaged … by creek water at low tide … and salt water at high tide. 

Several dozen feet of plastic net fencing had been installed to keep people away from the construction.

While that fencing may be of questionable need … leaving it up to be washed away appears to have been a major mistake.

We observed the orange plastic netting floating around in the ocean … and we retrieved as much of it as possible. 

We will ask Caltrans for comment today.

They just love hearing from us.

Getting back to the beach … it’s not clear what the short term plans are for Westward Beach and Point Dume. 

Long term prospects for preserving Zuma Beach and Westward beach?
Those have not been publicly discussed.


Support for KBUU Radio comes from the Malibu Brewing Company.

Malibu Brewing Company is a locally owned craft brewery, proudly supporting our community, and local public radio.

A special release for the winter season … Winter Warmer. 

Aged in bourbon barrels for a year, this ale has warm winter spiced notes of clove, raisins and ginger. 

Enjoy this limited release on draft while it lasts, or take home a few bottles. 

On tap at the Malibu Brewing Company tasting room at Trancas Country Market.

Malibu Brewing Company, Malibu California.


County Beefs Up Technology To Avoid Embarrassing Errors In Homeless Count This Year

Zero homeless people in Venice???
That’s what the official homeless county determined last year.

Garbage … yelled Venice residents. 

This year … county officials have announced plans to revise the system for measuring homelessness … after last year’s obviously inaccurate results.

Three demography experts and data scientists have been hired this year.

A new app has been devel.oped for volunteers. 

And The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has installed backup systems in case the digital count software fails.

If any neighborhood shows zero homeless persons … the county will send out make-up count teams to verify those results.

Last year … the homeless county for Malibu turned up 81 people … a figure that was believed to be accurate.

And 81 was an enormous decline from the 239 homeless persons counted two years ago … when dozens of RVs were parked along PCH.

A homelessness task force is putting final touches this week on its recommendation ,… that the city hire an outside agency to run a shelter bed program somewhere —- not in Malibu — but somewhere nearby.

Other cities like Agoura Hills do this … 

And by providing those shelter beds … cities can enforce no camping rules that ban sleeping in public. 

Community members can register now to volunteer for the the Los Angeles Homeless Authority’s (LAHSA) 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count taking place in Malibu on Wednesday, January 25.


Support for Radio Malibu KBUU comes from the Mark and Grether Real Estate Group.

Combining the talents of Tony Mark and Russell Grether… 

The Mark and Grether Group offers concierge-level service… personalized attention… to buyers and sellers… landlords and tenants … here in Malibu.

The Mark and Grether Group… a top producing team with 35 years of experience… and over $1 billion worth of real estate sold in least… from Malibu’s coastline to the canyons.


New Interactive Report Shows Much Of Malibu In 100-Year Flood Danger Zones

A new report from the federal government puts most of Pacific Coast Highway … and several Malibu neighborhoods … in flood danger areas.

The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts nearly 105,000 Los Angeles County residents within the designated 100-year flood plain.

You can find your neighborhood on the interactive maps ….on the web.

They paint a dismal picture for Malibu in a 100 year flood … they type of flood that can occur once every one hundred years.

Not so much that the entire Civic Center area … Trancas Country Market … Paradise Cove … Malibu Seafood … all could go under water.

All are within the 100 year floodplain.

Long stretches of Pacific Coast Highway are at risk.

All of PCH in Santa Monica. 

A mile of PCH at Topanga Beach.

The coastal highway is in danger of washing out from Nobu to Ralphs.

And if PCH goes … goodbye drinking water supply.

Cell service will be cut.

Phone service.

The Internet.

All vulnerable to loss.

The federal maps enable you to go online and see just how vulnerable this community is to flooding.

Simply search for US government 100 year flood maps.


Bottom Line: After 6 Atmospheric Rivers, Dams Are Filling, But Not Full

Six atmospheric river storms since the end of December have dumped half a year’s worth of rain on Northern California in two weeks. 

There is growing optimism that the terrible three year drought could meaningfully ease by the end of the snowy season.

Bu the decades long shift to a drier west cannot be erased by one wet winter … water experts warn.

But for now … flooding is the worry … not drought.

The statewide snowpack Wednesday is at a breathtaking 226% of its historical average

Lake Shasta is 35 miles long and is the biggest lake in the Malibu water supply chain. 

Shasta has risen 37 feet since Dec. 1. 

The second largest is Lake Oroville… it has has risen 97 feet.

Santa Barbara’s storage reservoir… Lake Cachuma … has gone from 37% full to 80% full.

Don’t get too excited yet.

The main snow harvest area for the City of Los Angeles is Mammoth Mountain.

They have received 40 to 54 inches from the latest storm. 

Mammoth has already surpassed last year’s season-snowfall total of 419 inches at the summit.

The big Northern California storage lakes are still at only about three quarters of their average storage amount for this time of the year. 

And last year, a very wet December gave way to the driest January, February and March in a century.

As the climate continues to warm, scientists say more severe dry periods, followed by intense wet years, are becoming the norm. Eight of the past 11 years in California have been drought years.

And what about all that water going to waste …. Flowing out to sea?

The Los Angeles area water works are a statewide example of building more stormwater capture projects … according to state officials.

But L A has only been able to capture 20 percent of the water that has fallen on the city.


You can hear the news live every morning until 9:30 on KBUU.

FM 99.1 in western Malibu.  Also: streaming at

Between 10 and 2 … you can hear the newscast playback loop on KBU2. That’s on FM 99.1 HD2 in your car, or streaming at

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