Weather

Strange weather comes to the Central Coast with hail storm, funnel cloud

Hail the size of a quarter fell on Creston for nearly 10 minutes on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
Hail the size of a quarter fell on Creston for nearly 10 minutes on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Weather on the Central Coast took a strange turn Wednesday: Quarter-sized hail fell in Creston, and a funnel cloud was seen west of Santa Maria.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” said Jessica Brezden, a 36-year-old Creston resident, “and I’ve never, ever seen this before.”

Brezden was at home when the hail began — about 1:30 p.m., she said — and ran outside to put her chickens and ducks in a coop. The quarter-sized hail lasted for nearly 10 minutes, creating patches of white on the ground that remained for several hours, she said.

“It was like a downpour of rocks,” she said.

Hail of that size is not common in San Luis Obispo County, PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said. Nor is the funnel cloud.

 
A funnel cloud was seen west of Santa Maria on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Jason Mergenov

But despite the somewhat unusual weather, not a single area of the county received more than an inch of rain in the 24 hours before 6 p.m. Wednesday. The location that reported the most rain was the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, at 0.44 of an inch. Elsewhere in the county, rainfall totals ranged from as low as 0.02 of an inch in Arroyo Grande, to 0.24 of an inch in Atascadero, to 0.27 of an inch at Cal Poly.

Clear weather is forecast until Friday afternoon, but a cold front could bring more rain Saturday. Total rainfall from that storm could range from 0.33 to 1.25 inches, according to Lindsey. Temperatures will likely remain in the upper 50s and low 60s throughout the week.

24-hour rainfall totals as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 (in inches)

Arroyo Grande (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.02

Arroyo Grande, South Halcyon Road

0.03

Atascadero (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.24

Avila Valley (PG&E Energy Education Center)

0.05

Baywood Park

0.33

Cal Poly

0.27

Cambria (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.32

Camp San Luis

0.39

Creston at Windrose Farm

0.29

Creston at Humbug Vineyards

0.30

Davis Peak (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.08

Diablo Canyon

0.25

Hog Canyon (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.08

Islay Hill

0.10

Lopez Dam (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.24

Los Osos at Cottontail Lane

0.26

Los Osos (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.29

Mission Prep

0.18

Morro Bay

0.09

Morro Bay Yacht Club (SLOweather.com)

0.06

Nipomo, East

0.20

Nipomo, Clamshell Mountain

0.35

Oceano (SLOCountyWater.org)

0.08

Paso Robles Municipal Airport

0.16

Paso Robles, Union Road & Riverglen Drive

0.25

Hwy. 41 and Toro Creek Road

0.70

Pismo Beach

0.36

Prefumo Canyon, San Luis Obispo

0.15

Rocky Butte

0.24

Santa Maria Public Airport

0.05

Santa Margarita

0.20

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

0.07

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden

0.44

San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau

0.05

San Simeon

0.08

See Canyon at Creekside Farms

0.08

Shandon

0.16

Templeton

0.24

Vandenberg Air Force Base

0.14

Source: John Lindsey, PG&E

An ominously tilting tree falls on a car at the front of a caravan of vehicles heading through Morro Bay Golf Course on February 17, 2017, during a strong wind and rain storm that also caused damage at Morro Bay State Park. Giancarlo Cucumo of Cay

  Comments