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Rain headed to Central Coast as storm threatens to drench California

Watch cars drive through rushing water on San Luis Bay Drive in Avila Valley

Cars cross over a flooded San Luis Bay Drive as San Luis Creek rises over the road on Thursday, March 22, 2018. The road was later closed because of flooding.
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Cars cross over a flooded San Luis Bay Drive as San Luis Creek rises over the road on Thursday, March 22, 2018. The road was later closed because of flooding.

Rain is returning to San Luis Obispo County, at least temporarily, beginning Friday evening, according to local PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

A 968-millibar storm moving into the Pacific Northwest on Friday will bring a cold front, increasing clouds and rain to SLO County, Lindsey said. Total rainfall amounts are expected to range between 0.25 and 0.75 inches, with showers forecast to end by Saturday evening.

Earlier this week, the Central Coast was forecast to get as much as 1.5 inches of rain. The heaviest rain in the system is still forecast to hit Northern California, where some areas may see as much as 8 inches of rain, Lindsey said.

The so-called atmospheric river has triggered a series of flood watches and warnings throughout California, particularly for burn-scarred areas of Northern California wine country, according to The Associated Press. The Department of Water Resources is also monitoring the Oroville Dam north of Sacramento, where the partially rebuilt spillway may be used for the first time since its near-collapse in February 2017.

In Yosemite, officials are expecting between 3 and 4 inches of rain and are canceling camping reservations because of the major storm. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the Yosemite area from 11 p.m. Friday through 11 a.m. Sunday.

In SLO County, the weather is forecast to clear up on Sunday and Monday, with strong-to-gale-force winds and partly cloudy skies predicted. Some minor rain showers are expected Tuesday through Wednesday, though Lindsey said those amounts will remain below a tenth of an inch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Spectators gathered to watch as San Luis Creek roars near Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo as a major March rainstorm forced water levels up on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

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