STORM WATCH 2019: ‘Moderate’ Progress
Some portions of Santa Barbara County received nearly 10 inches of rainfall over a seven day period from the recent band of storms, while the county’s drought status has improved to “moderate” for the first time in nearly a year.
The highest rain total accumulated over a seven day period was Jameson Reservoir, with 9.46 inches. San Marcos Pass (9.4 inches), El Deseo, north of Rattlesnake Canyon (8.94), Alisal Reservoir (8.9), and Tecelote Canyon (8.33) also recorded impressive rainfall totals over that time period, according to the county Public Works Department.
Other rain gauges located within the Thomas Fire burn area received nearly 7 inches of rainfall from the recent storms. Coastal areas such as Gaviota Coast (4.99 inches), Point Conception (4.17), El Capitan State Beach (3.82), Summerland (3.44), and Montecito (3.12) also received considerable rainfall.
The county Flood Control District’s rainfall and reservoir summary, updated on Thursday, shows that the Santa Barbara County Building in the downtown area has received 137 percent of normal-to-date rainfall and 56 percent of the yearly rainfall average for the 2019 water year, which began Sept. 1, 2018.
All but two locations included in the summary have received more than 100 percent normal-to-date rainfall, with the exception of Carpinteria (97 percent) and Cuyama (74 percent).
The county-wide percentage of normal-to-date rainfall was 127 percent and the county-wide percentage of normal water-year rainfall was at 52 percent.
The capacity of Lake Cachuma remains low, at 32.3 percent. Jameson Reservoir was at 79.5 percent capacity. The flood gates at Gibraltar Reservoir, which was at 77.9 percent capacity as of Thursday, were opened to allow water to flow into the Santa Ynez River, according to county officials.
The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that Santa Barbara County’s drought status has improved from “severe” to “moderate,” marking the first time the county has been under “moderate” drought conditions since Jan. 23, 2018.
Until two weeks ago, portions of the county had been under “extreme” drought conditions since mid-November.
The newly released report shows more than 75 percent of the state is under “moderate” drought status, with just over 5 percent under “severe,” and less than 1 percent in “extreme” drought.
A high surf advisory will remain in effect until 9 p.m. tonight. Waves of 8 to 12 feet are possible on exposed west-facing beaches through noon today. The surf is expected to subside by this evening but could persist into early Saturday.
Warmer and dry conditions are on the horizon for the South Coast, while gusty Santa Ana winds may develop on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Mostly sunny skies with a high of 66 degrees is forecast today, with north to northeast wind gusts up to 15 mph expected.
Sunny conditions and a high of 73 degrees is forecast Saturday and a high of 71 is forecast Sunday.
A storm system moving through Northern California may produce some rain on north facing slopes Sunday night into Monday, however no significant rainfall was anticipated locally, said Kristen Stewart, meteorologist with the Weather Service.
Mostly sunny conditions are expected next week, with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s. There was a chance for some low-end advisory level winds developing Tuesday evening, Ms. Stewart said.
The next chance for local rainfall will be the beginning of February, according to AccuWeather.