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Thunderstorms possible Monday night, heavy rain and strong winds expected from Wednesday's atmospheric river

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Posted at 3:57 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 04:03:49-05

Buckle up Central Coast, because an intense atmospheric river is inching closer bringing heavy rain and snow at low elevations as well as strong winds and potential flooding.

Before this main event expected Tuesday night into Wednesday, a cold winter storm lingering in the area is expected to produce more rain and possible thunderstorms Monday night into Tuesday.

Widespread rain from last night has turned into showers focused over the Central Coast, some areas like San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria seeing pea-sized hail.

There is also potential for snow flurries hovering around 2500 feet in the hills and mountains tonight.

Strong winds will continue impacting the area Monday evening.
Much of the Central Coast is under a Wind Advisory until 6 a.m. Tuesday with anticipated Northwest winds 20 to 35 MPH and gusts up to 50MPH.

A Gale Warning is in effect until 9 a.m. Tuesday for the areas of Point Piedras Blancas to Point Sal. NW winds 25 to 35 knots with gusts up to 45 knots are expected out on the waters.

A Surf Advisory is impacting SLO/SB counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday where we could see surf peaking at 14 to 18 feet with local sets up to 20 ft.

We look to get a break from these wet conditions Tuesday, but not for long.

On the heels of this second storm, is a third and much stronger system arriving Tuesday night. Models are indicating the atmospheric river will hang out over SLO/SB counties and bring 2 to 5 inches of rain by Thursday.

Recent burn scars like the Dolan, Avila, Drum fires will need to me monitored for potential flooding and/or debris flow.

Additionally, these southerly winds could exceed 60 MPH in some areas across SLO and SB counties and will also need to be watched closely.

A Winter Weather Advisory expires 10 p.m. Monday for SLO/SB County mountains. Additional snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches expected for elevations above 4000 feet, with light accumulations down to 2000 foot elevations. Northwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph.