A storm system barreling down on the Central Coast is expected to drop between 1 and 2 inches of rain from Wednesday into Thursday — and it’s the first in a storm series that could break the area’s May rainfall record.
“It could be one of the heaviest May rainfalls we’ve seen if it (the forecast) verifies, which I think it might,” PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said of Wednesday’s storm.
The average rainfall in May is 0.43 inches, which means San Luis Obispo County could see more than double the monthly average in one day.
Between this storm, another storm expected from Saturday night into Sunday morning and a storm forecast for Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County could break the May rainfall record of 4.22 inches set in 1906, Lindsey said.
“We absolutely have a chance to break that record,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey cautioned that Tuesday’s forecast models are still subject to change, but the models are showing upwards of 2 inches of rainfall that day.
Cloudy skies, rain and a chance of thunderstorms are expected to develop beginning Wednesday night into Thursday morning, along with strong to gale-force winds at speeds ranging from 25 to 38 mph, Lindsey said. The heaviest rain is forecast for Wednesday night.
Convective rain showers, which are generally short and intense, and a chance of isolated thunderstorms are expected from Thursday afternoon into Friday morning, Lindsey said.
A temperature drop is also forecast. Paso Robles is expected to reach a high temperature of 64 degrees Fahreinheit on Thursday and San Luis Obispo is forecast to reach a high of 61 degrees that day, Lindsey said.
Paso Robles’ average temperature on May 16 is 81 degrees, and San Luis Obispo’s is 73 degrees, according to Lindsey.
The unusual weather also means snow is expected across the Sierra Nevada beginning late Wednesday, with most of the northern and central Sierra forecast to see between 5 to 10 inches of snow by Friday morning.
Strong to gale-force winds at speeds ranging from 25 to 38 mph and partly cloudy skies are forecast from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon, and rain showers are forecast to return from Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Tuesday’s storm is currently forecast to be stronger and could keep temperatures unseasonably cool, Lindsey said.
“This is quite rare for late May,” Lindsey said. “It probably will change, but it’ll be really interesting if this storm verifies.”