It looks like it's going to be another dry year. In a good year this ford would be covered with water, often too deep to cross, even with four-wheel drive. But not this year. Here we are in mid February, and the streambed isn't even damp, let alone flowing. I can still take the short route into town.
The Estrella River is dry for most of the year, like many California streams, only running during the rainy season when rainfall up in the hills has saturated the higher ground enough to generate runoff. Following a wet year, the streams will start running early, as there is still moisture in the ground, but following a dry year such as the last one, it takes more sustained rainfall before the waters come down.
Even in the Salinas River, there is still only a gentle flow in the upper reaches, mostly from releases from the dams at the headwaters. As of early February, surface water still hadn't reached San Miguel.