Heavy rain and strong winds expected in San Luis Obispo County on Tuesday

Some areas of San Luis Obispo County could see light rain this afternoon and evening before a big storm is expected to hit Tuesday.

The system was about 1,500 miles northwest of the county as of 8 a.m. Monday, according to John Lindsey, meteorologist at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The associated cold front is expected to move down the California coastline Tuesday.

Winds are forecast to range from 32 to 46 mph, with stronger gusts possible, Lindsey said. Rain will increase throughout the day Tuesday, becoming moderate to heavy Tuesday evening to Tuesday night.

The coast and coastal valleys could get up to 1.5 to 2 inches of rain during the storm, Lindsey said. Coastal mountains could see 2.5 to 4 inches.

The last time the county had more than 1 inch of rain in one day in October was Oct. 19, 2004. The rain gauge at Diablo Canyon recorded 1.5 inches in six hours. Total rainfall that season was 35.71 inches. Tuesday's weather system is displaying many of the same characteristics as the October 2004 system, Lindsey said.

The heaviest rainfall on record for October was in 1983, according to Lindsey, with 2.21 inches falling.

The rain should taper off through the day Wednesday, with most areas seeing clear skies by Wednesday night.

Snow levels are expected to be high with this storm, Lindsey said, and will range from 8,000 feet in the north to 9,500 feet in the southern Sierras.

Warmer weather and sunshine is forecast for Thursday through Sunday. Temperatures could reach 80 degrees in Paso Robles and 76 in San Luis Obispo on Saturday.

-Larissa Doust