San Luis Obispo has already met its annual rainfall average, and a new storm arriving Wednesday will add an inch or more to that total.
As of Monday, San Luis Obispo had received 25.25 inches of rain this season. The city’s historical average for the rain year, which starts July 1 and ends June 30, is 24.36 inches.
John Lindsey, a local forecaster with more than 20 years of experience predicting weather on the Central Coast, said an inch to 2 inches of rain could fall in the next storm, which will also be warmer than last weekend’s cold front.
As of Monday, the storm was about 1,000 miles west of California. Lindsey said it would intensify today as it moves toward Cape Mendocino in Humboldt County.
It will then move southward and cross the Central Coast at noon on Wednesday. The storm is expected to pack strong winds and heavy rain.
Showers will linger into Thursday morning, then clear that afternoon. Friday and Saturday will be clear and warmer, with daytime highs reaching to near 70 degrees.
Another chance for showers will arrive Sunday, Lindsey said.
Strong winds and cool temperatures will follow early next week.
Last weekend’s cool temperatures — with daytime highs in the 40s and the evening lows falling to near freezing — worried county avocado farmers. But on Monday, their orchards emerged from the cold snap undamaged.
“We dodged the bullet,” said Bob Staller, managing general partner of Morro Creek Ranch off Highway 41 near Morro Bay.
He employed wind machines over his 225 acres of Haas avocados from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday to protect them from frost.
Even though temperatures dipped around or below freezing, the wind machines blew warmer air from above the orchard down around the plants to warm them a degree or two.
Mark Moore, co-owner of Mike Cavaletto Ranches in Nipomo, said the wind machines were “enough to turn the tide in our favor,” and protect his 300 acres of Haas avocados as well.
Staller said a neighbor who also grows avocados used a helicopter in addition to wind machines to direct the warmer air downward.
Of the cold weekend, in which snow fell on parts of the county, Moore said: “We like it when things like this turn into a nonevent.”
Staller said the local avocado industry has seen freezes as late as April, so growers can’t take this near-escape for granted.