Rain returned to the Central Coast right on cue today and look to continue thru the overnight and much of Thursday. Rainfall is expected to diminish early Friday but a series of smaller storms looks to roll thru California into the New Year.
This system is essentially just getting started. Overnight into Thursday, the S-SE wind component will pick up, 15-25mph. This alone will increase some of the orographic enhancement (the wind-aided lift when winds intersect a facing slope). Our forecast range is not changing: 1-3" for most coastal locations. 2-5" for higher elevations and for S-SW facing slopes.
Not only will the wind-aided rain pick up so will rain rates associated with the storm dynamics. When the frontal boundary pushes thru there will be additional instability so rain rates will occasionally hit .50" per hour, and higher rain rates will have to be monitored as newer modeling has shifted some rain focus south. That said, at this moment there are no advisories for flooding or debris flows locally.
Currently, this system has a sub-tropical connection fueling the decent rain potential but it is also keeping snow levels quite high. Locally there are no concerns about snow for this system but cooler systems after this thru the new year will have much lower snow levels and could produce some snow locally at favored spots like the highest elevations of the Santa Ynez range and also the Cuyama Valley.
The follow-up systems are weaker but there appear to be a number of them. Saturday and again Monday splash and dash systems are likely but also not likely to produce more than .50" of rain each. There are even more systems in the modeling into New Year however models differ run-to-run as to timing and intensity so best to just stay tuned to the forecast thru all the holidays to be safe.
As you can imagine with a series of storms, temps will be cool. Highs are generally in the 50s and lower 60s until the pattern breaks.