Weather

High winds, thunderstorms and big surf expected on the Central Coast

Windy day! SLO County hit with gale-force gusts, high surf advisory

It's a blustery weekend in San Luis Obispo County: Strong to gale-force winds of 32 to 46 mph (with gusts up to 60 mph) were forecast for Saturday, May 6, 2017. Winds were expected to continue, but lessen, on Sunday. A high surf advisory is in eff
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It's a blustery weekend in San Luis Obispo County: Strong to gale-force winds of 32 to 46 mph (with gusts up to 60 mph) were forecast for Saturday, May 6, 2017. Winds were expected to continue, but lessen, on Sunday. A high surf advisory is in eff

Central Coast residents should brace for some “interesting weather” this weekend with rain and high winds expected to sweep across much of the region, PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said Friday.

In some areas, instability caused by high- and low-pressure fronts colliding could bring thunderstorms.

Residents can expect “batten down the hatches kind of wind” and rain beginning Saturday, particularly along the coastline, with winds of 32 to 46 mph and gusts up to 60 mph by afternoon. Those winds could lose strength farther inland, but pick up again at higher elevations such as the Cuesta Grade.

“Whenever you get a (weather) system like this during the month of May, you just never know. It can produce pretty unsettled weather,” Lindsey said.

High winds and rain are expected to continue into Sunday before tapering off Monday morning.

As a result of the high winds, the National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory from Friday evening until 8 p.m. Sunday. Gale force winds will generate 7- to 9-foot swells beginning Friday night, rising to 11 to 13 feet Saturday and 12 to 14 feet Sunday.

Lindsey said offshore buoys could record swells of up to 20 feet this weekend.

There’s precedent for extreme weather events in May, Lindsey said, as a result of the unusual pressure systems in place.

On May 6, 1998, a weak tornado touched down near Cal Poly campus, toppling trees and doing other property damage.

While he said he wasn’t predicting a tornado this weekend, Lindsey said, “a pattern like this has produced some pretty interesting weather in the past.”

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

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

National Weather Service reported a 34-foot swell in Santa Cruz making the buoy readings of Jan. 21, 2017, some of the largest ever observed. These photos are from Kevin Johnson/The Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP.

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