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Central Coast officially back to moderate drought designation

Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 20:40:07-05

The U.S. Drought Monitor makes weekly assessments which are released on Thursday and today the Cenrtal Coast was downgraded to "moderate drought" from "abnormally dry". The designation is based on current rainfall shortage and lake levels which are sagging.

The rainfall outlook has been depressing all season long but finally there are at least signs of something. To be clear we need more than "something" with shortages running near or over 2" in parts of the area. Both the American GFS Model and the European Model have been showing our area as a decay area of cold fronts where most of the rain hits north of here. This will likely happen again this weekend when a cold front falls apart very near northern SLO county. One model suggests a few drops the other says nothing.

I'm inclined to think nothing as well as the air here is just so dry at the moment and I don't see a lot of transport with the front. So, now we can look down the road and that is where we have finally found something. Both models agree a stronger system is likely late next week into the weekend (17th-19th). The American Model doesn't like a lot but the EURO likes .25-1" potential. Now while the models don't agree on the intensity the fact they both agree on rain this far out is a potentially good sign. This far out I would expect changes to the outlook a number of times, but I thought with the drought headline I'd jump int rainfall first.

OK, returning to the short term forecast. A trough is sweeping into the area and bringing cooler air with it. What we'll see between now and the weekend is an inside slider low pressure system spinning up along the CA/NV line which will produce some N-NW winds in the Santa Barbara county mountains several times over the next few days. I don't think an advisory will be needed tonight but wind advisories may be needed Friday into Saturday and again Saturday into Sunday for that area. Elsewhere just locally breezy conditions and no advisories.

In terms of temperatures the fact we are in a trough means they will not hit the 80s like we did earlier this week, generally 60s and low 70s.
I think we'll start to see larger waves developing again next week as the storm path gets more active, some 10+ foot potential looks to be there and I could see high surf advisories returning as well.