A (major) change in the weather for Paso Robles
Green, Green, Green

Our crazy Paso Robles microclimates

As was forecast, we've had a wet week.  After yesterday's 1.72 inches, we're up around 3.5 for the week, with the largest dose of rain forecast for today.  And the weather pattern is supposed to stay unsettled, although we'll get a mostly sunny break this weekend for anyone heading out to take advantage of the Presidents' Day holiday.

Yesterday, I posted a status update on Facebook that it was a monsoon out at Tablas Creek, and got several comments from friends in town asking, essentially, "really?".  My wife called to ask if I'd seen the giant rainbow, and said that there had been a few sprinkles in town but more blue sky.  Not true out at Tablas.  Just 10 miles west of Paso Robles, it was stormy all day, and downright torrential as we got into the afternoon.

The snapshot below drives home just how much of a difference it makes to your rainfall totals where you are within Paso Robles.  We got an inch and three quarters.  The Templeton Gap got less than half an inch.  Town was less than a quarter, and the two weather stations east of town barely got anything at all.  It's not quite as dramatic when you look at the annual totals, but we have more than double the rainfall of J. Lohr (more or less the center of the appellation) and triple what they've gotten in Shandon, at the AVA's eastern edge.


It's hard for me to get used to how much small distances and small changes in elevation can change the weather here in California.  I grew up on the East Coast, where you could safely assume that whatever your weather was, it wasn't notably different a half-hour away.  But the interaction between the cold Pacific Ocean and the hot, dry California interior is so shaped by the height and orientation of the coastal mountain ranges that it significantly complicates the climate picture. 

I think that the biggest benefit that will come from the Paso Robles sub-AVA proposal, assuming it successfully navigates the federal review process, will be the greater recognition of the often dramatic differences of climate and soils within Paso Robles.  It's a huge AVA, and yesterday's weather demonstrates how different one part of it can be from another.