The Central Coast can expect rain, hail and even a dusting of snow over the next 48 hours as a cold storm out of Alaska blows through, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Rain is possible Thursday night, with a 50-percent chance after midnight and northwest winds up to 25 mph, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist .
The wet conditions are expected to continue into Friday, when the region could see thunderstorms mixed in with showers, and even some small hail, he said.
Rain will diminsh Friday night – by around midnight – but there will still be breezy winds and cold temperatures, with highs in the high 50s through the weekend.
Next week, temperatures will warm up to the low 60s again.
The weather looks like it doesn’t want people to leave California, Seto quipped — at least not on Interstate 5.
Snow could hit areas over 4,500 feet Thursday night, with snow levels dropping to 2,500 feet by Friday morning.
Interstate 5 over the Grapevine, north of Los Angeles, is at about 4,000 feet elevation, and is expected to get about 2 inches of snow, Seto said. That could affect surrounding areas such as state routes 14, 138 and 33. Areas over 4,000 feet could get 4-8 inches of snow.
“You might see some dusting on the mountains up there by Saturday morning,” Seto said.
“There is not much moisture with this system, it’s just very cold; but if you’re under a thunderstorm, you could get small amounts of hail and brief, heavy rains,” he said.
Rain could total up to a half-inch in areas under thunderstorms, while the coastal area will likely get about a quarter-inch.
“With the winds and snow and showers, it could restrict visibility, and with temperatures this low, there could be some icy road conditions,” he warned drivers. “Even though you don’t see the snow, there could be black ice.”
The Central Coast will see nighttime lows in the 40s through the weekend, and the county has opened the Freedom Warming Centers for Friday and Saturday night.
The centers will be open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. For updates, call the hotline at 805.324.2372.
The open shelters include:
» Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1527 Santa Barbara St. (Jefferson Hall), Santa Barbara.
» Carpinteria Community Church , 1111 Valecito Road, Carpinteria.
» St. Michaels Church, 6586 Picasso Road, Isla Vista.
» Good Samaritan Shelter, 401 W. Morrison Ave. #B, Santa Maria.
» Bridge House Shelter, 2025 Sweeney Road, Lompoc.