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Thunderstorms possible on the Central Coast through Wednesday afternoon

A funnel cloud was seen west of Santa Maria on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
A funnel cloud was seen west of Santa Maria on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Rain returned to the Central Coast this week. But rain isn’t the only thing in the weather mix today — thunderstorms may also make an appearance Wednesday afternoon.

According to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey, the Central Coast can expect rain all day Wednesday that could become heavy at times, as well as potential isolated thunderstorms through Wednesday afternoon. Lindsey warned people to be safe during thunderstorms, which can produce lightning, and stay inside.

Weather watchers in northern Santa Barbara County reported seeing a funnel cloud around Santa Maria on Wednesday morning. According to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California averages about 10 tornadoes per year, usually in the spring and fall. They can happen across the state but are most common in the northern half of the Central Valley. On Tuesday, tornado warnings were issued for parts of the Central Valley including Stanislaus County and Merced County.

NWS meteorologist Courtney Obergfell said the Central Valley sees about 4 to 5 weak tornadoes a year.

The wet weather will break Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, with more rain predicted Friday night into Saturday morning. Rainfall totals from that storm system will range between 0.33 and 1.25 inches, Lindsey said.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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