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A winter-like storm hit SLO County on Wednesday night and more is on the way

Take a rainy day trip from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay

San Luis Obispo County received steady rain on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Take a drive from SLO to Montana de Oro and Morro Bay in the wet weather.
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San Luis Obispo County received steady rain on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Take a drive from SLO to Montana de Oro and Morro Bay in the wet weather.

Enough rain fell in San Luis Obispo County from Wednesday night into Thursday to double the area’s average May rainfall. And we haven’t seen the last of the wet weather.

The area usually sees about a half-inch of ran in May, but by noon on Thursday, Rocky Butte had received 1.65 inches of rain, Cambria reported about an inch, Cal Poly reported 0.57 inches and Los Osos saw 0.62 inches, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

Santa Margarita received about a third of an inch by noon, while Shandon and Creston each received a little over a tenth of an inch of rain by that time.

“It was a classic winter storm,” Lindsey said. “We definitely had much higher rainfall rates in the coastal mountains and the Santa Lucias than in inland areas.”

A storm like this is unusual for May. Also unusual? The forecast over the next week.

Friday is expected to be dry, but a few rain showers could start around 4 p.m. on Saturday, Lindsey said. More rain is forecast to arrive at about 10 p.m. Saturday night, with the heaviest rain forecast at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning.

More rain showers are forecast for Sunday late morning and afternoon, and the county could see between a half-inch and 1.25 inches with that system.

The forecast is also showing rain showers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Lindsey said. Heavier rain is forecast for next Friday and Saturday, but Lindsey cautioned that the forecast is still far down the line and could change.

“Undoubtably, the forecast will change. But for late May, that’s pretty interesting,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said that, for now, the area is on track to get between 2 and 4 inches of rain through next Friday. And as for that 113-year-old May rainfall record? We still have a chance of breaking that, too.

Generally, SLO County doesn’t see much rain after March or April due to a ridge of high pressure air that sets up off the West Coast and blocks storms from coming in from the Gulf of Alaska, Lindsey said. But the high-pressure ridge hasn’t quite set up yet this year.

“That hasn’t happened yet,” Lindsey said. “It’s hard to say why, but it’s definitely unusual.”

Here’s how much rain your area received on Wednesday into Thursday.

24-hour rainfall totals as of 12 p.m. Thursday (in inches)

Arroyo Grande (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.36

Arroyo Grande, South Halcyon Road

0.36

Atascadero (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.12

Avila Valley (PG&E Energy Education Center)

0.55

Baywood Park

0.43

Cal Poly

0.57

Cambria (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.98

Camp San Luis

0.67

Creston at Humbug Vineyards

0.11

Davis Peak (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.91

Diablo Canyon

0.50

Hog Canyon (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.28

Islay Hill

0.60

Lopez Dam (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.58

Lopez Recreation Area (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.51

Los Osos at Cottontail Lane

0.62

Los Osos (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.51

Mission Prep

0.65

Morro Bay Yacht Club

0.23

Nipomo, East

0.55

Oceano (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.32

Paso Robles Municipal Airport

0.20

Paso Robles, Union Road & Riverglen Drive

0.20

Rocky Butte

1.65

Santa Maria Public Airport

0.19

Santa Margarita

0.32

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

0.45

Source: John Lindsey, PG&E

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