The Central Coast saw a stream of high clouds containing ice-crystals today which caused the sun halo. This optical phenomenon is called a 22-degree halo.
That's because the radius of the halo is approximately 22 degrees.
So how are they formed?
The halos are caused by the refraction of sunlight through tiny ice crystals in the atmosphere associated with thin, high-level cirrus clouds.
This is by far not the biggest story of the day in terms of weather. The U.S. Drought Monitor's week-to-week update was released today and the Central Coast is now in "extreme" drought after being in "severe" drought for months. This means drought conditions have worsened. How? Well, the first three months of the year combined are among the driest (locally driest in 152 years, elsewhere the driest of all reliable records). Now we are paying for it with low lake levels and suffering ground cover.
Is this surprising? Not at all. Drought conditions generally get worse when the rain stops and temps increase. In fact, we were in worse shape 12 months ago but the summer outlook is for deepening drought with warmer than average highs and near average rain (which is nearly 0 on average). The winter rains would really have been disappointing had we not had large storms in October and December saving us from even worse drought conditions.
Moving on to the forecast. It is also a concern considering drought conditions. This week has been cool but the coming weekend looks much warmer than average. It would be good to avoid long runs of heat at this point. Coastal valleys already return to the 70s and 80s Friday and even mid to upper 80s for some Saturday. Interior highs approach 90 on Friday and likely top it Saturday, and beaches also look to warm into the 70s Friday and Saturday.
We still have some wind advisories in place into this evening for the Central Coast and overnight for parts of Santa Barbara county where local pass and canyon winds continue to gust higher than 40mph.
There is a silver lining, however, the interior warms up and generally stays warm but coastal highs start to relax as early as Sunday when onshore winds return.
The deeper extended forecast also shows the potential for another cool trough of low pressure to develop over The West for the following weekend (21st-22nd).