Up to 4 inches of rain headed for SLO County; burn areas brace for mudslides

A storm system is rolling through the Central Coast beginning Monday, and SLO County could see between 2 and 4 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

According to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey, rain will begin Monday morning and become heavy from Monday night into Tuesday morning, when a cold front moves into the area. SLO County could see thundershowers Tuesday, Lindsey said.

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The National Weather Service has issued a high-wind watch for some SLO County cities, including Paso Robles and Atascadero, that will be in effect from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. A high-wind watch means weather conditions could cause “potentially damaging winds of 58 mph or greater,” according to the NWS. On Sunday evening, the NWS predicted wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph in the interior valleys of both SLO County and Santa Barbara County.

The NWS has also issued a flash-flood watch for burn areas from the Thomas and La Tuna fires. Debris flows are forecast for Monday night into Tuesday, when the highest rainfall rates are expected, and the agency forecasts 3 to 6 inches of rain in the foothill and mountains. On Sunday, ahead of the storm, officials placed 50 bales of rice straw around the Ogilvy Ranch north of Montecito. The bales will serve as protective barriers, keeping silt and debris out of riparian areas to protect wildlife like red-legged frogs and arroyo toads, the Los Padres National Forest Service said in a Facebook post.

Santa Barbara County residents can get more information about the storm by going to or calling either 211 or 800-400-1572.

The NWS said rainfall rates Monday night in the Thomas Fire area could reach 1 inch per hour, with scattered showers, thunderstorms and heavy downpours expected for Tuesday. Parts of the Central Coast could see as much as 7 inches of rain, according to the NWS.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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