SLO County weather forecast for the week of Jan. 4: Lots of rain on the way

Here is this week’s weather forecast by PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

A major change in the weather pattern is underway as the jet stream/storm track drops southward, increases in speed and takes a more direct route across the Pacific toward California. These upper-level winds are expected to direct a series of low-pressure systems of varying strength to the Central Coast through the first part of January, if not longer. Each day this week is expected to receive much-needed precipitation. Total rainfall amounts for the week are expected to range between 4 and 6 inches, with higher amounts in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The first storm in the series intensified to 986 millibars off the Northern California coast Saturday night. The associated cold front and upper-level trough are forecast to swing through the Central Coast on Monday, while a weak surface low moves into Southern California. These systems are expected to produce strong to gale-force (25- to 38-mph) southerly winds along the coastline and rain on Monday.

The second storm in this series is forecast to give moderate gale-force to fresh gale-force (32- to 46-mph) southeasterly winds along the coastline on Tuesday and periods of heavy rain Tuesday into Wednesday. Total rainfall amounts could range between 2 and 3 inches, with higher amounts in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The final system is expected to bring rain to the Central Coast on Thursday into Friday. Moderate to heavy snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with as much as 3 feet of new snow above 6,000 feet.

Scattered rain showers with periods of clearing will develop Saturday into Sunday as high pressure briefly builds over California. Snow levels over the weekend could fall to 2,500 feet. Wet and unsettled weather is forecast throughout the following week.

Surf report

A 9- to 11-foot northwesterly (300-degree, deep-water) swell (with an 11- to 15-second period) is expected to arrive along the San Luis Obispo County coastline Monday afternoon and will remain at this height and period through Tuesday morning.

A 10- to 12-foot west-northwesterly (285-degree, deep-water) swell (with a 19- to 22-second period) will arrive along the coastline Tuesday afternoon and will remain at a 10- to 12-foot level through Wednesday afternoon but with a gradually shorter period. This swell will shift out of the west (270-degree, deep-water) and increase to 13 to 15 feet (with a 16- to 18-second period) Wednesday night, peaking Thursday at 15 to 17 feet (with a 15- to 17-second period). Combined with Tuesday’s west-northwesterly swell will be 7- to 9-foot southerly (180-degree, shallow-water) seas. A 9- to 11-foot west-northwesterly (285-degree, deep-water) swell (with a 13- to 15-second period) is expected along the Pecho Coast on Friday, decreasing to 5 to 7 feet (with an 11- to 13-second period) Saturday.

Another high-energy swell could arrive along the county’s coastline on Jan. 11, followed by another high-energy swell event Jan. 13 and 15.

Seawater temperatures

Seawater temperatures are expected to range between 56 and 58 degrees through Monday, increasing to 58 and 60 degrees on Tuesday into Friday.

▪  ▪  ▪ 

At PG&E, your safety is our first concern. Be prepared for this winter’s storms by creating a family emergency plan and emergency kits for your home, your office and your vehicle. PG&E offers emergency-preparation tips on its website at

John Lindsey’s Weekly Weather Forecast is special to The Tribune. His Weather Watch column appears in the Local section on Sundays. Contact him at

This week’s temperatures









49 60

48 57

45 57

45 56

43 59

41 61

40 62









45 55

42 53

40 52

41 53

37 54

32 53

33 58