This week Santa Barbara county already declared high fire season earlier than normal and some local communities are already taking proactive steps to encourage water conservation. Those actions were taken because today's headline comes as a surprise to no one. The Central Coast and much of California has fallen into a "severe drought" according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
In California, the conditions deteriorated on this week’s map in response to a combination of factors including back-to-back dry water years, above-normal temperatures, below-normal snowpack, and drought impacts (agricultural, ecosystem health, water supply, recreation).
In California, areas of Extreme Drought expanded across the northern and central Sierra Nevada, as well as in areas of the San Joaquin Valley where water deliveries have been severely reduced due to the poor snowpack conditions across the Sierra (59% of normal on April 1 statewide) and below normal reservoir conditions.
For the Central Coast the rain season was 5-10" short on rainfall.
Reservoirs are also experiencing sagging storage early which is also a factor in drought designation. Additionally temperatures are off to a warm start for the season quickening the pace of drought development conditions.
In terms of the local weather forecast, temperatures are bottoming out Friday before rebounding this weekend into next week.
A lot of low cloud cover over night and in the morning for not only the beaches and coastal valleys but some inland valleys as well. The clouds cleared for the inland valleys and coastal valleys but proved stubborn at some beaches.
The clouds will push back into the coastal valleys later tonight and could again get into the interior as well as a trough passes us to the north. All this is drawing temperatures down. Friday looks to feature temps in the 50s and 60s at beaches with 60s in the coastal valleys and 70s in the interior valleys.
Night and morning marine layer should return this weekend for coastal areas but with breezy to windy afternoon conditions the skies should clear as temps warm a little into the 70s at the coastal valleys and a return to the 80s inland.
Early next week we should more clouds at the coast with warmer inland temps, a staple of typical May weather on the Central Coast.