Water & Drought

How much rain has SLO County gotten this season? Hint: It’s more than average

San Luis Obispo County has had a wetter winter than average — and some areas have gotten way more rain than normal — but this year’s weather isn’t likely to set records.

As of Thursday, all regions of the county have received more precipitation than usual during this year’s rain season, which began on July 1 and will end on June 30.

Some areas have gotten up to 10 inches more rain to date than average, according to information compiled by John Lindsey, a PG&E meteorologist.

Rocky Butte near San Simeon, known as the rainiest spot in the county, has typically received 26.4 inches of precipitation by this time of year. It’s gotten 37.11 inches so far this season.

Templeton has gotten 18.2 inches of rain this year — on average, it’s usually received 11.9 inches at this time.

Rainfall in other regions has been just above normal.

Cal Poly, which has typically gotten 15.38 inches of rain by this time, has received 16.21 inches of precipitation — just 0.83 inches more than is typical.

Arroyo Grande has received about 14 inches of rain so far — normal is 11.9 inches.

Comparing rain seasons

The county has gotten enough rain so far this season to pull the area out of abnormally dry and drought conditions for the first time in 11 years.

Even so, it likely won’t match the amount of precipitation the region received in 2017, when San Luis Obispo had its rainiest January in 20 years.

On Feb. 21, 2017, Cal Poly’s rain station had recorded more than 32 inches of precipitation that season, according to a previous Tribune story.

Los Osos had gotten 24 inches of rain, Atascadero 26 inches and Nipomo 28 inches.

“I’d be surprised if we get up to those levels,” Lindsey said.

The weather systems the county received in 2017 were warmer “Pineapple Express” storms that brought subtropical moisture to the coast, he said.

“This year, it’s been more storms coming out of the north,” Lindsey said.

The weather systems have been colder and windy with a greater chance for snow, in addition to storms with thunder and lightning, he said.

The county is due for more wet weather this week, with rain entering the area on Tuesday night and continuing through Thursday, according to Lindsey’s forecast.

A break will come on Friday before rain resumes during the weekend.

“The first week of March looks pretty wet,” Lindsey said.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.
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