Small hail in Downtown Santa Cruz on March 10, 2021
(Tulsi Kamath / Lookout Santa Cruz)

More thunderstorms and possible hail expected around county overnight

Up to 1.5 inches of rain could fall in parts of Santa Cruz County. Up to an inch of rain is expected in Santa Cruz itself.

After a wet morning with some hail in parts of the county and even snow in the Santa Cruz Mountains, more isolated thunderstorms and possibly small hail are expected Wednesday evening and overnight with the worst of the weather expected to pass by late Thursday morning.

National Weather Service forecasters say the “pop up cells continue to travel in a pinwheel-like fashion” that will result in cold overnight temperatures throughout the Bay Area and Central Coast regions. Santa Cruz should be largely spared with early morning temperatures in the low 40s, though forecasters predict some of the counties in the interior valleys like Napa waking up to temperatures in the 30s.

While rain in the area isn’t expected to cause debris flow, there were some mudslides reported on the Central Coast, particularly in the River Fire burn scar Wednesday.

Debris flow concerns prompted evacuations in parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains in January, though the heavy rains that month — in some cases upwards of 11 inches — did not spark any major movements of earth. Storm damage was more significant in Monterey County, where part of Highway 1 collapsed near Big Sur.

After weather clears up Thursday, forecasters say the next chance of rain will come early next week.

“High pressure builds Friday and Saturday with some dry northerly winds bringing a warming trend with mostly clear skies. Next chance of rain arrives Sunday into early Monday as the next trough approaches Northern California,” forecasters write.