The first major storm of fall is expected to scatter showers across San Luis Obispo County today, and that has wine-grape growers watching the skies with some concern.
Grape growers are picking the 2010 crop, and rain is something they hope to avoid when harvesting. That’s because the added moisture can cause harmful fungus to grow on the fruit.
“Normally, October has been ideal for harvest,” said Steve Carter, vineyard manager for J. Lohr Vineyards in Paso Robles. “But over the last two years, the weather has thrown us a curveball, so we’ll just have to see what happens.
“If it’s just one rain event, a quarter of an inch or less, it won’t have much of an effect at all,” Carter said. “It will just settle the dust. If we get a heavy rainfall, then I might get nervous.”
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Fin du Fresne, the winemaker at Chamisal Vineyards in the Edna Valley, said a small rainfall would not be harmful.
“If we do get a lot of rain, then we’ll put on an organic spray to prevent fungal disease,” he said.
A low-pressure system moved down the California coastline Tuesday and brought some light rain to the county by nightfall.
That cool, damp weather will continue today, local forecaster John Lindsey said.
He expects rainfall amounts to range between 0.10 and 0.40 inches, with up to 1 inch in the mountains. Highs today will remain in the 60s.
The storm will also create showers across Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.
Totals of 1 to 2 inches are possible across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and parts of western Los Angeles County. Thunderstorms might also occur.
Skies will begin clearing Thursday as the storm system moves east, Lindsey said.
Friday will have sunny conditions, with temperatures rising well into the 70s. Daytime highs will heat up into the 80s over the weekend in the North County and San Luis Obispo, Lindsey said.
Staff Writer Stacy Daniel contributed to this report.