It was a major disaster in California near Big Sur when a highway collapsed and fell into the Pacific ocean below. The incident is attributed to a combination of heavy rain and snowfall from a winter storm. The debris flowed downhill, and the momentum damaged the road and the infrastructure. A portion of the highway collapsed and fell into the waters. An official of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) explained that a debris flow from the hillside above the roadway at Rat Creek led to the breakage. It is in a mountainous region of the central coast of California.

During heavy downpours, the rainwater cascades down the mountain's slopes and keeps collecting debris on its way. When it strikes the ground down below, its momentum damages the roads.

CNN says a California Highway Patrol Officer noticed that a roadway section had broken off and disappeared into the ocean. It was in the southbound lane. Images revealed the huge gap in the highway along the coast of California. The repair crew of Caltrans realized that debris had flowed downhill and damaged a portion of the road. When emergency contractors arrived, they discovered that both the lanes had washed out. It posed a risk to Travel, and those who wanted to use the road had to search for alternate routes.

California faced similar situations earlier

Restoring the road would be a long-drawn-out affair. The damage assessment team is already on the job, and the road will not be open to traffic until completion of repairs to the damaged portion of an alternate solution is found. The collapse's location is in the vicinity of the burn scar as a result of the Dolan Fire.

This was one of the wildfires to play havoc with the environment in the state last summer. It burnt down trees and vegetation. CNN added in May 2017; there was a similar incident. It was a major landslide on Highway 1, which deposited tons of rocks and brought traffic to a standstill. The debris occupied a quarter-mile section of the highway.

The repair work added 13 acres to the coastline, and the road reopened in July 2018 – after more than a year. In April 2019, there was a report that wildfires in California were becoming more common.

A state of emergency in some counties of California

The winter storms were a threat to the region, and Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, declared a state of emergency for Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. There were fears of mud and debris flows along with the evacuation of a large number of residents. Several structures in Northern California suffered damages due to the mudslides and debris flow. These were aftereffects of a powerful atmospheric river-fueled storm. The worst part is that most of the impacted areas had witnessed wildfires in the past.

Obviously, the loss of trees and greenery in the fires destroyed the ecological balance and the environment. It made the area more vulnerable to floods and landslides that damaged homes, businesses, and infrastructure. In July 2018, a woman fell from a cliff in Big Sur in California and was rescued after seven days.

Climate change responsible for the situation in California

According to NBC News, mudslides are not new to California. These are usually noticed in areas that witnessed wildfires, and the two are interlinked. In the opinion of scientists, climate change is giving rise to such disasters. These are becoming more common. A professor of environmental studies from Stanford University explains - "The heavy rainfall is always a challenge, but when you've got the fires and the rainfall within a few months of each other, even a few years of each other, you generate a whole new category of risks." Right now, travel between Southern and Northern California is not possible through Big Sur.

It has to wait for the rebuilding of the damaged portion of the highway. People have to assign priority to tackle climate change. They should go in for alternatives like Renewable Energy in place of fossil fuels.