Rain returns Tuesday but Wednesday could see more rain and even thunderstorm potential

Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-28 00:37:21-04

Update to include new model projections from Chief Meteorologist Dave Hovde:

(from the prior story)

This is definitely a rainy season that doesn’t seem to end. Another storm arrives Tuesday afternoon and a stronger part of that storm is on track for Wednesday.

This is not as strong as the January 9th storm, in fact, it doesn’t even look to deliver as much rain as prior systems this month but it does have some potential to have an impact. Due to the very wet rain year, reservoirs are either full or close to full, a number of roads have had damage and some other critical infrastructure bears close monitoring.

As a result, the Weather Prediction Center has identified the Central Coast as having a “slight” risk of excessive rain potential. Excessive rain in this case is just enough to cause problems, meaning the bar is pretty low. We should see rain accumulation thru Thursday morning up to 1.5”, but most places getting less than the top amount.

Tuesday’s rain starts in the afternoon as lighter showers are associated with a cold front. We’ll see that activity continue into the early hours of Wednesday morning then a bit of a break before the cold-unstable upper low drifts over us. When the cold unstable air aloft comes over the Central Coast not only are showers likely but also some potential for thunderstorms.

The Storm Prediction Center has identified the Central Coast in the marginal category for thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can create dangerous lightning, brief heavy downpours and wind and also hail, brief waterspouts, and small tornadoes.

Snow levels will so drop into Thursday morning and higher elevations could see some accumulation.

Highs Tuesday will be in the 50s to mid-60s with the warmest temps being on the Santa Barbara County Southcoast because the cold front arrives there last. Wednesday and Thursday look to see highs in the 50s with the cold storm on top of us. After the storm departs temps for many return to the 60s with some mid-60s or better for the Southcoast for the weekend.

As of Monday evening, there were no advisories with this storm but I’d expect at least a surf advisory for 8-10 foot breakers. There is no flood watch, but since the Weather Prediction Center has offered some guidance on that, a flood watch wouldn’t surprise me as we get closer to the event. There are wind advisories north of us, but locally it looks marginal for wind advisory conditions.

Again, the storm looks most active Wednesday PM but activity could linger into Thursday morning before the system moves off. I don’t see much happening after that thru the weekend but models do like an active extended forecast into roughly the April 10th date but details have been muddy with models showing a number of potential systems but not consistently placing them either spatially or temporally. So, at this point best to say the extended forecast is still potentially active into the first part of April.