Storms likely this weekend in SLO County

Unlike last weekend, when sunny weather made it feel like summer, this coming weekend will be cool, rainy and cloudy, forecasters say.

In short, it will be more like what one might expect a week before Christmas and mere days before the official start of winter.

“The surface and upper-level charts are indicating a major change in the weather pattern,” local forecaster John Lindsey said.

He said the eastern Pacific high pressure area — which blocks storms from coming to the Central Coast — will move southward, “opening the door to a series of weather systems.”

Lindsey said images from Earth-observing satellites show storm systems stretching across the Pacific Ocean toward the West Coast.

The first will arrive Friday, bringing strong winds and copious amounts of rain with it, Lindsey said.

Southerly winds will blow between 25 and 38 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph. Rainfall will range between 1 and 2 inches, with higher amounts in the mountains.

This storm system taps into subtropical moisture originating in Hawaii, explained Lindsey, a PG&E representative who has more than 20 years of forecasting conditions along the Central Coast.

A short break will occur Saturday night before a second storm arrives Sunday.

Winds will reach 20 to 30 mph, and up to an inch of rain could fall. The brunt of that low-pressure area will impact the Bay Area.

The same will be true for a third storm that arrives Tuesday.

Most of the rain will fall north of here, but showers will keep San Luis Obispo County wet.

Also arriving Tuesday is the official start of winter. The winter solstice has the fewest hours of daylight.

Long-range forecasts for Christmas diverge somewhat.

Lindsey believes the wet weather pattern will break, while the National Weather Service keeps a chance of rain on the holiday in its forecast.

The outlook will firm up as the day draws closer.