Much-needed rain is expected to return this weekend

Zaley Carminati, 2, of Paso Robles was all smiles in the rain as she left Ross with her mother, Amanda, on Thursday in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Zaley Carminati, 2, of Paso Robles was all smiles in the rain as she left Ross with her mother, Amanda, on Thursday in downtown San Luis Obispo. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

One of the driest years in California history is starting to get a little wetter, and more rain will come this weekend.

Thursday’s storm brought some welcome precipitation, and San Luis Obispo County is expected to see light showers on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday will be clear with light showers resuming Saturday, said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with the National Weather Service.

Sunday will be dry and then rainfall will return Sunday night and Monday morning, Seto added.

A dome of high pressure over the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Northwest had been blocking storms from moving south. But that system moved recently and now is centered in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California, Seto said.

Starting Tuesday, the fluid high-pressure system will start moving toward the north again, and dry conditions will resume over the next week. The National Weather Service only looks ahead seven days at a time for accuracy purposes and can’t predict whether the high pressure will continue to block storm passages, Seto said.

In Paso Robles, Thursday’s storm produced 0.70 inches of rain by about 3 p.m., increasing the rainfall total there since July 1 to 1.16 inches, which is 6.04 inches below normal for this time of year.

Cal Poly had 0.63 inches of rain and the San Luis Obispo Airport had 0.42 inches by 6 p.m., PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said. Seto said the university normally receives 4.95 inches of rainfall in the month of January. This year, it received 0.03 inches in January; a storm on Sunday, two days into February, dropped 1.03 inches on campus.

The high temperatures are expected to hover around 60 degrees over the weekend, with lows in the mid-40s increasing to 50 overnight Sunday, Lindsey said.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January, calling upon California residents and businesses to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. Despite the latest rains, several local communities are still hurting for water and have implemented conservation measures.

Cambria’s Community Services District has declared a Stage 3 emergency, the most stringent of three levels of mandated measures. The measures include prohibitions on using potable water for landscaping; rinsing sidewalks and decks with potable water; refilling swimming pools and commercial spas.

The city of Morro Bay has increased its conservation measures from moderately restricted to severely restricted, which includes irrigation of landscaping on Tuesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered property addresses and on Wednesdays and Sundays for even-numbered addresses.

Templeton, Atascadero and Pismo Beach also have recently approved stricter water conservation measures for their communities.