Good Morning Central Coast! Like so many mornings this month there is rain falling that will complicate the commute. Light rain and fog sitting low in the atmosphere are limiting visibility and complicating traction on the roads this morning.
Right now we are in a bit of a "break" from large rain systems on the Central Coast. When I say this I mean that today looks generally cloudy with some occasional mist and drizzle. It'll add up to a few tenths here and there but a lot of places likely only see light measurable amounts. Either way, lots of cloud cover and drizzle for today. Northern San Luis Obispo County will bear the brunt of this gloomy day.
More significant rain will move in Saturday as we prepare to ring in the new year. This system will ride a cold front into the Central Coast and add to our already high rain totals for the month. Rain will begin overnight into the morning hours as drizzle and light rain. During the morning hours the main cold front will surge south and begin to bring heavy rain by the afternoon. This is where the bulk of the rain will fall.
The front will continue to move south and will clear the Central Coast by the late evening. This is good news for many celebrations as we ring in the new year as the bulk of the system will have passed. That being said more showers are possible to linger around into the overnight hours. When this system is all said and done most communities will see 0.5-1.0" of rain. Some interior valleys will see less while the highest elevations will see up to 2"
Alongside the rain there will be strong wind gusts. Before the front pushes through winds from the south west will be sustained 25-40mph and localized gusts up to 60 mph are possible. Power outages are possible with wind speeds at this level.
By New Year's Day, this system will be gone. A dry day is expected for New Year's Day, even with some sunshine, enjoy it because more rain moves in for a soggy week to kick off 2023. There are main rain chances Monday, Wednesday and into the weekend but each of those systems will run into each other, further complicating the forecast.
The key to this however is exactly where will each event focus this river of moist air? Most mid-range models like 2-5+" of rain for all systems into Jan 8th. That's a good amount, but the EURO model shows 5-15" potential. This is WAY out there, however it can't entirely be discounted.
It assumes a system around the 5th puts it all together: high rain rates, duration, strong atmospheric river, and low-pressure proximity, and wind-aided orographic rain enhancement. Even if a fraction of that happens, it would be significant. While I'm thinking that model likely moderates, it is important to say that this is an active pattern. It is a pattern we have not seen in a while and people need to stay informed before planning anything outside or traveling during challenging weather conditions.
Have a great day Central Coast!