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As the Central Coast dries out from the latest storm, weather watchers are forecasting a large rain event for early next week but a lackluster rainy season overall.

Across the region, recent rain brought less than a half an inch to some areas and about an inch to others.

“A cold front passed the Central Coast early (Thursday) morning delivering moderate amounts of rain and mild overnight temperatures,” said John Lindsey, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. meteorologist.

By midday Thursday, the rainfall total in Lompoc was .20 of an inch, while Santa Maria saw .31 of an inch. Guadalupe measured .66 of an inch and rain gauges at Twitchell Dam in northern Santa Barbara County recorded .83 of an inch, according to the National Weather Service.

Areas north of Santa Maria saw significantly more rain, according to Lindsey. The Edna Valley recorded 1 inch, while Shell Beach received 1.13 inches.

Light rain could continue through Friday, but Saturday and Sunday should be clear, said Jayme Laber, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists are keeping an eye on forecast models that are predicting a potentially significant rain event that could bring dangerous flooding and mudslides to recent burn areas Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.

Next week’s storm could drop 1 to 2 inches of rain along the coast and valleys and 2 to 4 inches of rain in the foothill and mountain regions.

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Santa Barbara County officials are warning residents living in the Thomas fire burn area to be prepared for dangerous conditions that will result from the storm.

Those living near the Alamo and Whittier fire areas are also warned of potential hazards associated with the storm.

However, weather experts are forecasting this year's rainy season will be drier than last year.

The Central Coast and Southern California are feeling the effects of a La Nina pattern that is affecting how much rain will fall on the region.

“We have sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that are cooler than normal," Laber said. "We are in a weak La Nina pattern. Generally, that means that Southern California and the Central Coast will see below normal rainfall for the season.”

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.


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