Wet weather will continue

NORTH COUNTY — According to local meteorologist John Lindsey, more wet weather is on the way with a low pressure system making its way toward San Luis Obispo County over the next two weeks.

Last week’s storm kicked off the holiday season with the first rain in months. The precipitation was welcomed by firefighters, farmers and ranchers. According to Lindsey, meteorologists were expecting a dryer winter as they looked at the lack of precipitation through October and most of December.  

“This is wonderful news for the ranchers, this will really set the winter ryegrasses a growing and really reduces the fire danger, so this is really, really good news,” said Lindsey. He went on to say that the November rainfall is very beneficial for grazing lands because it starts the germination of the grasses to help produce in the winter months.

The storm brought swells for surfers and Lindsey noted that the Humboldt Bay
Buoy reached 37 feet for a 15-second period

“This is one of the highest wave events recorded at this location. These waves are generated by hurricane-force winds from a 972 millibar storm off Oregon,” said Lindsey.

People might be surprised to learn that the storm broke a record. The storm produced an all-time low-pressure record for California at 973 millibars at Crescent City. Millibars are a unit of air pressure. Lindsey said in layman’s term that the lower the pressure, the stronger the intensity of the storm. In comparison, hurricanes can register 925 millibars for the most intense storms. 

“The lower the atmospheric pressure at sea level, usually the more intense the storm is because nature never likes anything out of balance, so what transpires is that you have an area of low pressure and an area of high pressure and the winds are rushing in to fill in the vacuum of that area of low pressure,” Lindsey explained.

Lindsey said that “a very strong and robust jetstream” was driving the low-pressure system.  With the eastern Pacific high-pressure system moving closer to the international date line it’s open season on California for storms.

“We’ll continue to see a wet weather pattern over the next couple of weeks,” Lindsey said. “The California storm door is wide open.”

Weather stats came rolling in on Monday morning showing a rough average of 2 inches of rain since Tuesday, Nov. 26 — 2.25 inches in Santa Margarita, 1.97 in Atascadero, 2.31 in Paso Robles and 2.05 in Creston. Rain is expected to continue through the week with a short break on Thursday. 

“Another atmospheric river event is then expected to unfold on Friday into Saturday, with another round of moderate gale-force to fresh gale-force (32 to 46 mph) southerly winds and moderate to heavy rain. Long-range models show dry weather next week,” according to Monday’s weather report.