Rain forecast for this weekend in SLO County

This coming weekend’s weather across the Central Coast will be more like January than June, as a late-spring storm will arrive with rain, wind and cooler-than-normal temperatures, forecasters say.

John Lindsey, a PG&E community relations representative who also specializes in local forecasting, said the storm will bring the potential for an inch of rain.

If that occurs, it will make this the wettest June on record. In 1991, 0.80 of an inch fell in June in San Luis Obispo, which is the current record for the month.

While rain this time of year is not unheard of, it is uncommon, Lindsey said. San Luis Obispo County typically gets less than a 10th of an inch in June.

“Since the year 2000, it has only rained three times in June” at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, said Lindsey, where he has much of his meteorological equipment.

The low-pressure system will swoop down the West Coast from British Columbia. Rain will fall Saturday before turning to showers Sunday.

Lindsey said snow is possible in the Sierras, and showers will linger into Monday as the storm slowly moves out of the region.

High temperatures this weekend will be only in the 60s, with overnight readings in the low 50s.

Impact on events

The rain could not come at a worse time for organizers of the annual Greek Festival in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza. The festival is set for Saturday and Sunday.

“We have had Greek grandmothers cooking for months on this,” said Stephen Lloyd-Moffett of the St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, which sponsors the festival that features Greek cuisine and dancing.

The festival will go on despite any bad weather, he said, as the event is one of the church’s key fundraisers of the year. But the church is ordering more tents for shelter.

“The Greek Festival is a celebration of the Greek spirit,” Lloyd-Moffett said. “Zorba still danced in the rain. The food will bring that much more warmth to people.”

Another outdoor event planned for Saturday is the Morro Bay Music Festival. It will be set up in a parking lot at Embarcadero and Pacific Street, with the performers under a covered stage.

The music will go on, rain or shine, organizers said. Donations will benefit the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.

Wetter than normal

The 2010-11 rain year, which began July 1 and ends June 30, has already exceeded normal amounts. SLOweather.com, an online weather service used by The Tribune for its local readings, has recorded 36.28 inches, well ahead of the historical average of 24.27 inches.

When it comes to temperatures, May was cooler than normal because of key developments along the Pacific coast, Lindsey noted.

“A strong area of high pressure has remained over western Canada,” he said. “This condition is probably the reason why the eastern Pacific high is shifted farther to the west out over the Pacific than normal.

“This has allowed a series of Gulf of Alaska low-pressure systems to move down the California coast and produce below-normal May temperatures across much of California and above-normal rainfall, especially in Northern California.”