Another shot of cold air is on the way for the weekend

Heavy coastal clouds in California
Posted at 4:22 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 20:48:56-05

2022 has been a huge disappointment for rain thus far with the entire region turning from several inches of rain surplus at the end of 2021 to several inches of deficit into March.

The photo above is of virga, rain falling from the cloud and not hitting the ground (absorbed by dry layer near the surface).

The January and February combined were the driest 2 month period in Central Coast history, and this system to start March is a concern in that it isn't producing much if any rain.

I don't think much happens into early Saturday when a low-pressure system drops into the Central Coast. This next system is cold and unstable and like the first low-pressure system Thursday into Friday it really doesn't have much moisture to work with.

That said, it likely produces a few scattered showers and drops snow levels significantly. By Saturday morning snow levels should be around 2000ft. This means not only could snow fall in the Santa Barbara county mountains but the Central Coast could see some snow, and not just in the mountains. Outside of the mountains I don't think we get accumulation (we could get a dusting here and there) and again the issue also appears to be precipitation, we need some to get snow, the temperature being the only factor in what form it comes down as.

I really think the larger issue here is the temperatures and wind. Winds will pick up significantly Saturday with NW winds 15-30mph with higher gusts (and strong winds are already an issue in parts of Santa Barbara County). Advisories are in place for winds on Saturday. Highs look to be in the 50s for most on Saturday.

The Saturday cold low pulls out Sunday and a ridge of high pressure builds back in for Sunday into next week warming temps back into the 70s.

Mid-range models are pessimistic on local rain into to 20th. If that pans out, March will join January and February as rain disappointments as we simply start running out of time to add rain before it becomes rare in the forecast by later April and early May. The drought already grew last week and most forecasters like myself think it will continue to grow into spring and summer.