Weather Watch

Abundance of rain + Central Coast = wildflowers galore

Above-normal rainfall this winter, most of it seemingly falling on weekends, may have put a damper on outdoor activities. However, this season’s persistent rains will reward us with a spectacular bloom of wildflowers.

Areas of the Central Coast are already awash in colors, and the wildflower displays should only become more intense as we move toward May. From afar, it almost seems that landscape artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude were able to get permission to wrap our hillsides with intense yellow and orange hues along with purple and blue pigments. I’ve always felt blessed to see these remarkable, yet fleeting, displays of flowers before the stronger winds and the longer days of late spring turn them into sun-baked grasslands.

There are many locations to see wildflowers throughout San Luis Obispo County. My favorites are at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, Shell Creek Road along highway 58 and the Point Buchon Trail near Montaña de Oro State Park.

The Point Buchon Trailhead is accessed through the south end of the park and is open Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a limit of 275 hikers per day. Reservations can be made at www.pge.com and are encouraged to avoid being turned away at the trailhead. Sally Krenn, PG&E’s terrestrial biologist, encourages everyone to view the spectacular poppy, goldfield and lupine floral display along the coastal bluff headlands.

The trail straddles the coastline where the Blanchard family runs an organic, sustainable ranch on the north end of the property that is home to Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

For many years, Bob, Terri and son Bowman Blanchard have been implementing a sustainable ranching practice known as rotational grazing or managed grazing with different types of livestock. Managed grazing requires dividing lands into smaller fenced spaces, or paddocks. Ranchers graze cows, sheep and goats on contrasting paddocks during different times of the year.

This method of grazing not only sustains a healthy ecological condition of the ranch but actually improves it by allowing land to rest and vegetation to recover. This practice has also produced some of the most beautiful wildflower displays that I have seen and shouldn’t be missed.

To get the latest news about wildflower blooms along the Central Coast, you can log on to SLOWeather.com and read the SLOweather Blog. Also, the Theodore Payne Foundation has a phone line you can call for updates at 818-768-3533.

Today’s forecast

The cold upper-level low pressure system that produced the wild April weather Friday with low elevation snow, frost, hail and a few claps of thunder has moved far to the east.

After another cool morning, warmer temperatures will occur across the Central Coast later today. Temperatures should climb into the low to mid- 60s today with moderate to fresh (13- to 24-mph) northwesterly winds.

Overnight temperatures will warm to the low 40s.

A weak cold front will pass our area Monday with night and morning marine low clouds and fog along with variably cloudy skies Monday afternoon.

A strong 1,036-millibar Eastern Pacific High will take a position about 500 miles to the west of San Luis Obispo and will produce fair weather and strong to gale force (25- to 38-mph) afternoon northwesterly winds along the coastline, so common during spring, on Tuesday through Saturday.

Temperatures across the Central Coast on Tuesday through Wednesday will be slightly below normal, then high pressure will build into the state bringing night and morning northeasterly (offshore) winds and above normal temperatures, generally in the 70s and 80s Thursday through Saturday.

Today’s surf report

A 936-millibar storm moved into the Bering Sea and produced extraordinarily high west-southwesterly sea and swell on Thursday.

The Southeast Bering Sea NOAA marine buoy reported significant wave height at 41 feet with a 16 second period and southerly winds of 52-mph sustained with gusts to 65-mph. Since that time, the buoy is only transmitting data intermittently.

Swell from this storm will have little affect along the Central Coast.

Today’s 5- to 7-foot northwesterly (310-degree deep-water) sea and swell (with a 7- to 17-second period) will continue at this height and period through tonight.

Strong to gale force (25- to 38-mph) northwesterly winds along the Central Coast will generate 4- to 6-foot northwesterly (310-degree deep-water) sea and swell Monday, increasing to 7 to 9 feet (with a 7- to 14-second period) Tuesday through Wednesday.

This northwesterly sea and swell will continue at a 5 to 7 feet height (with a 7- to 12 -second period) Thursday through Saturday.

From the south

Today’s 1- to 2-foot Southern Hemisphere (200-degree deep-water) swell (with a 15- to 17-second period) will decrease Monday.

Seawater temperatures will range between 50- and 53-degrees through Monday, decreasing to 48- to 51-degrees Tuesday and will remain at this level through Saturday.

Open House

PG&E is hosting an open house at the South County Regional Center in Arroyo Grande from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. The event is part of a continuing series of outreach initiatives that will give the public the opportunity to learn more about PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant and to discuss a variety of topics with experts from DCPP.

Earth Day event

Join PG&E employees April 16 to celebrate Earth Day at Montaña de Oro State Park. The event is one of a number of service projects sponsored by PG&E and the California State Parks Foundation.

Please register at the California State Parks Foundation website, www.calparks.org.

Be sure to dress for outdoor work with long pants, long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, hat, gloves and sunscreen. Snacks and a light lunch will be provided. Bring your own refillable water bottle. Rangers will provide tools and supervision.

John Lindsey, media relations representative for PG&E and local weather expert, has lived on the Central Coast for more than 24 years. To get his daily weather forecast, email him at pgeweather@ pge.com.

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