Santa Barbara County experiences rain, wind, thunder, hail, sunshine and calm weather
Santa Barbara County was deluged with rain on Monday night and into the morning with spurts of rain Tuesday afternoon.
Dramatic winds in Santa Barbara on Tuesday morning brought three large trees down — one across the southbound on-ramp to Highway 101 at Carrillo Street in Santa Barbara, the other across Loma Vista Avenue in the same city and the third across all lanes of State Route 192 in Carpinteria.
As the day approached noon, patches of blue sky and sunshine appeared in Santa Barbara, then the weather became quiet and settled into a gray gloom until a 15-minute downpour in the middle of the afternoon. Then the weather was calm again.
For a few hours.
As evening approached, a quick downpour of hail suddenly slammed Santa Barbara. The noisy weather was followed by something even more dramatic: thunder and lightning.
Then as quick as it began, that show was over. Sunlight sneaked through the gray clouds on a day marked by an erratic storm.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, rainfall totals were Lompoc: 0.66 inch; New Cuyama: 0.12 inch; Goleta: 0.86 inch; Santa Maria: 0.25; Santa Ynez: 0.2 inch. That’s according to the National Weather Service.
Moderate to heavy rain, thunderstorms and mountain snow are expected to continue through today, as a strong storm moves across the region. Strong winds, capable of causing potential damage, are possible as well.
Dry and cool conditions are expected Thursday through Monday, according to the weather service.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department increased staffing including extra water rescue personnel and heavy equipment.
“Wind coupled with soil saturation have increased 9-1-1 calls for trees/down power lines,” said Capt. Scott Safechuck, the department’s public information officer in a tweet. “Always assume that down power lines are energized and can energize the adjacent area when the ground is wet. Look up, look down, and look around. Use caution, stay clear, and call 9-1-1.”
Capt. Safechuck said the fire department recommends the following safety tips: Drive safely, insure tires have good tread, and stay away from creeks, rivers and embankments.
“We haven’t had too many road closures today due to the storm,” Alexa Bertola, public information officer for Caltrans District 5, told the News-Press in an email.
“This morning, there was a tree down across all lanes of State Route 192 between Cravens Lane and Ocean Oaks Road in the Carpinteria area, but it’s since reopened. The Carrillo on-ramp was closed on southbound Highway 101 in Santa Barbara due to another downed tree this morning. That has also reopened.
“Our maintenance crews are patrolling our roads all day long, ready to respond to potential downed trees, slides and flooding,” Ms. Bertola said.
The News-Press went to press Tuesday night when the rain was expected to continue to fall across Santa Barbara County.
The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a 90% chance of rain today in Santa Maria and Lompoc and an 80% chance in the Santa Barbara area.
Lows in the county are expected to be around the mid-40s and the highs in the mid to upper 50s.
The forecast for Thursday in Santa Barbara is partly cloudy with a low of 45 and a high of 64 with a 10% chance of precipitation at night (early morning hours on Thursday) and 0% chance during the day.
In Lompoc, the forecast for Thursday is partly cloudy with a low of 48 degrees and a high of 59 degrees, with a 20% chance of rain at night (early Thursday morning) and a 0% chance during the day.
In Santa Maria, it will be partly cloudy with a low of 45 and a high of 58 degrees, with a 20% chance of precipitation at night (again that’s early Thursday morning) and 0% chance during the day.
The rains have benefitted local reservoirs. As of Tuesday, the Gibraltar capacity was at 100.8%, with its elevation at 14,000.17 feet. Lake Cachuma capacity was at 97% with elevation at 751.13 feet. Jameson capacity was at 100.5% with elevation at 2,224.20 feet.
Twitchell capacity was at 55.4% with elevation at 623 feet.