Central Coast to get dose of warm weather, then more rain

While the East Coast faces a big snowstorm this weekend, warmer-than-normal temperatures are forecast for the Central Coast before the tail end of a storm system brings a chance of rain on Monday.

The dry, offshore winds that made for sparkling skies in San Luis Obispo and along the coast on Friday will continue today, making for an unseasonably warm afternoon. Temperatures may reach the high 70s in San Luis Obispo, and the mid-60s to low 70s in the North County and along the coast.

Normally, the high temperature in San Luis Obispo for late December is about 65 degrees, according to records kept by the National Weather Service.

One place where the sky might be obscured, at least in the morning hours, is the North County. John Lindsey, a forecaster and local weather expert with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., said the offshore winds actually blow thick tule fog from the Central Valley into northern parts of the county.

Early Friday, Paso Robles Municipal Airport reported visibility of less than a quarter mile because of the fog, Lindsey said.

A cold front moving into Northern California will mean increasing clouds for the Central Coast late Sunday and into Monday. By Monday afternoon, light showers could reach the county.

Temperatures will also drop into the low 60s countywide on Monday, forecasts predict.

The clouds will quickly give way to a return of clear, dry weather that will remain in place through Christmas Day. Winds will once again blow from the inland areas toward the coast, and temperatures will be more seasonal, with highs in the 60s and overnight lows in the 30s and 40s.

Fall comes to an end on Monday, when the winter solstice occurs and marks the shortest day of the year.

The fall season has been good for rainfall: Through Friday, San Luis Obispo had received 12.27 inches of rain in the 2009-10 season, which began July 1. The average for the same period is 5.49 inches.