Offshore winds will pick up pace to close the week

Boats on the Central Coast waters
Posted at 4:14 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 20:38:03-05

The Central Coast and SoCal are already experiencing some offshore wind flow which has cleaned out skies and produced warmer than average temperatures but a much stronger event is likely Friday night into Saturday.

Today's wind event was definitely on the mild side locally and weaker than expected across SoCal but the upcoming event is based on a different weather pattern and there is higher confidence about the strength of that event.

The Friday PM into Saturday offshore wind will be fueled by a ridge of high pressure to the west buy also an inside slider dropping along the CA/NV border. This will produce a good surface pressure gradient and looks to also couple with a parallel offshore wind at higher elevations.

Locally Friday PM into Saturday should see NE winds of 15-25 with gusts to 35mph, this is close to advisory levels. I think the higher elevations of the Santa Barbara County mountains, passes and canyons have 15-30 with gusts near 40-45mph and that area looks more likely to see an advisory than the west-facing coastal areas.

Before all this starts there looks to be a low-level offshore wind tonight into Friday morning driving temps back into the 60s and 70s for many. Saturday looks warmer with the increased offshore flow. Sunday that backs off and early next week winds look onshore and temps will drop a little.

The forecast for the next 10 days looks dry however models are starting to sing a more optimistic song as February arrives.

Mid-range models show an event right as we turn the calendar to February but also hint and a second system right on the heels of the first around the 5th or 6th. Yesterday I explained at length that February's long-term outlook has to be taken with a grain of salt since climate models showed the potential for a mid-month ridge similar to what we have now which could choke off good rain potential. Well, today that same model sings a different tune showing a lot of rain potential for February with an "open door" to west and southwest moisture. Given the flip-flop nature of the guidance I'd still use plenty of salt however I'll admit my mind is definitely more open to "Wet February" ideas than it was yesterday.