At last! Rain was set to fall overnight and continue into this afternoon, with the potential for some meaningful showers in a winter that so far has been notable for cold, dry weather.
Coming into Friday, the last time San Luis Obispo County had received rainfall was Dec. 12, and that hardly amounted to much. Cal Poly, the official home of climatology for San Luis Obispo, measured only 0.17 of an inch.
Before that, the only other storm of note had occurred Nov. 20, when 1.56 inches were measured in San Luis Obispo.January is normally one of the wettest months of the year, averaging 5.17 inches in San Luis Obispo.
John Lindsey, who has forecast local weather for more than 20 years, said the storm that arrived Friday afternoon should taper off by this afternoon. It will likely bring a half-inch to an inch of rain to San Luis Obispo and the beach cities and lesser amounts to the inland areas.
A second storm is set to spread over the county Sunday night into Monday morning, with the potential for an additional three-quarters of an inch, Lindsey said.
“There will be no heavy rains or strong winds,” Lindsey said. “It will be just nice, steady rain.”
Once the second storm clears out Monday, the high-pressure ridge that has been sitting off the coastline for most of the winter will reassert itself, Lindsey said. That means it will push storms back into the Northwest, away from California, leading to more dry, mild days and cold nights.
Temperatures this weekend will be noticeably warmer than earlier in the week.
Paso Robles saw its overnight lows plummet below 20 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday, but tonight’s low should be near 30, and then warm up to 39 degrees Sunday night, the National Weather Service said. Highs countywide this weekend will be in the 50s and 60s.
Besides rain, the weekend storms are also generating waves, and the National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory for the Central Coast. Waves will swell to 10 to 13 feet by this afternoon and then peak at 15 feet Sunday, the NWS said.
Lindsey said there is a simple safety rule to follow when on the beach: Never turn your back on the ocean.