San Luis Obispo County hasn’t seen a significant amount of rainfall in more than a month, but the storm door may be about to open, said PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.
Lindsey said models are showing 1 to 2 inches of rain in most areas of SLO County on March 1 and 2, with some areas reaching up to 3 inches. Rain will also continue on March 3.
“The numerical models have been indicating that the storm door will swing open by March 1 and will allow a series of low-pressure systems to produce significant rain,” he said in his forecast email on Thursday.
Lindsey emphasized that, since this is still a week out, these are long-range models that are subject to change.
“However, both models are indicating that, and over the last few days they’ve been pretty consistent,” he said.
The last time SLO County got more than a half-inch of rain was on Jan. 9, when Diablo Canyon recorded 2.25 inches, Lindsey said, and that was the only time since the rainy season began on July 1, 2017, that rainfall amounts reached that level.
Though SLO County has received some rain since then, it’s been in small amounts.
“It’s been one of the driest years on record, so this is a big deal,” Lindsey said. “If the models don’t verify, this could be the driest year on record.”
Since July 1 of 2017, Cal Poly has recorded just 4.5 inches of rain, Lindsey said. For reference, from July 1, 2016, through the end of February 2017, Cal Poly received 33.48 inches of rain, Lindsey said.
The driest year recorded recently was 2013, when measurements taken at Diablo Canyon showed just 5.76 inches. However, the driest year recorded at Cal Poly was 1897, when the area received a grand total of 7.2 inches of rain, Lindsey said.
“We’ve gotten pretty big rainfall amounts in March,” Lindsey said. “By March 15, we’ll know if it’s been a really dry year.
“March will really make us or break us, that’s without a doubt,” Lindsey said.