SLO County weather forecast for the week of March 17

Special to The TribuneMarch 16, 2014 

Here is this week’s weather forecast by PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

Weather report

Cal Poly, home of climatology for San Luis Obispo, hit 88 degrees Sunday, a new record for that date. The old record for March 16 was 86 degrees, set in 2004. The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport reached 90 degrees. In Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria smashed their previous record of 83 degrees set in 1964 with an 89 degree reading Saturday.

This is the time of year when the North County temperatures begin to surpass those recorded in the coastal valleys and at the beaches as the Central Coast moves toward spring, which begins Thursday, March 20, with the vernal equinox at 9:57 a.m.

High clouds are forecast to stream over San Luis Obispo this morning as a dry cold front moves through our area. Strong to gale-force (25- to 38-mph) northwesterly winds are expected to follow later this morning into this afternoon. This onshore flow should produce much cooler temperatures. In fact, today’s maximum temperatures is forecast to be between 10 and 15 lower than yesterday’s.

There should be just enough Santa Lucia (northeasterly) winds during the night and morning hours to keep the marine layer out at sea through Tuesday. However, by Wednesday the predominate wind flow is expected to shift out of the northwest (onshore) and should allow marine low clouds and areas of fog to develop along the beaches and coastal valleys during the night and morning hours through Friday. Another weak cold front is expected to produce gentle (8- to 12-mph) southerly winds and areas of drizzle Saturday.

The long-range models suggest a return to wet and unsettled weather by the middle of next week, although details remain unclear. At this time, rain may develop by March 26.

Today’s surf report
This morning’s 9- to 11-foot northwesterly (295-degree, deep-water) sea and swell (with a 5- to 17-second period) should remain at this height and period through tonight, decreasing to 8 to 10 feet (with a 7- to 14-second period) Tuesday. A 5- to 7-foot northwesterly (295-degree, deep-water) swell (with an 8- to 14-second period) is forecast along our coastline Wednesday.

Increasing northwesterly winds Thursday should produce a 7- to 9-foot northwesterly sea and swell (with a 7- to 16-second period) Thursday afternoon through Friday. A 5- to
7-foot northwesterly (290-degree, deep-water) swell (with an 11- to
18-second period) should arrive Saturday.

The long-range charts indicate a series of long-period swells arriving  March 28.   

Seawater temperatures

Seawater temperatures will range between 53 and 56 degrees through Wednesday, decreasing to 52 and 55 degrees on Thursday through Saturday.  

John Lindsey’s Weekly Forecast is special to The Tribune. His Weather Watch column appears in the Local section Sundays. Email him at pgeweather@pge.com.

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