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Next storm arrives today but huge rain potential next week

Coastal clouds and sun mix
Posted at 9:44 AM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 02:24:07-05

A cold front is on the way later today into Monday and rain amounts up to .50" is possible.

Additionally, low elevations snows are also likely and a winter storm watch is in place for the Santa Barbara county mountains.

Winds will be high with this first system in a few places, like the SLO mountains where a high wind watch is in place for winds developing early Monday. (You can click on the social post to head to the page and see the graphics in better detail)

Large breaking will build to 8 to 12 feet with local sets to 15 feet this afternoon, then peak at 14 to 18 feet with local sets to 20 feet Monday and Monday night. Surf will gradually subside Tuesday.

OK, that handles the short-term forecast the long-term forecast is a concern. For a number of days now modeling has been showing an atmospheric river event in the making. This is where high moisture supply parallels a transport wind and focuses high rain potential in a specific area. That specific area has been the Central Coast in modeling runs going back to last week.

Right now it appears rain begins Wednesday and peaks Thursday but continues into Friday. This would be not only high rain but high rain rates potentially. Even in non-burn areas, the rain potential could mean flooding potential. We are talking about an event that could produce as much as 1-6" of rain (actually potentially more in some spots).

Since this has shown up now for some time it seems reasonable to use the time prior to the storm to handle any preparations including roof attention or even making sure you have supplies should power be interrupted. If this continues to verify you can anticipate a number of advisories to be posted next week. Of course, the forecast can change this far out but stay informed is the key.