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The new year starts out wet

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The first of a trio of strong storms is expected to hit the Central Coast on Jan. 3, and weather experts say it may result in the heaviest downpour and biggest waves San Luis Obispo County has seen in some time.

"This could be the most significant rainfall across the Southland since January 2005," read a special weather statement by the National Weather Service.

According to the statement, SLO County could receive more than 4 inches of rain by Jan. 7.

In addition to the torrential downpour, swells are projected to peak at up to 18 feet on Jan. 5, and ski slopes are expected to receive above average levels of snow.

While this may be good news for some outdoor enthusiasts, it does come with associated hazards.

According to Jane Schmitz, a fire captain for CAL Fire, the gnarly weather conditions bring the potential of flooding, landslides, power outages, and burly rip tides.

"People need to make sure they are prepared for any type of emergency," she said. "And most people should stay out of the water if they are not prepared for these kinds of waves."

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