Santa Barbara County was doused Sunday as heavy rain moved ino the state from the northwest, beginning off what is expected to be a wet Christmas week.
Rain began to fall around 9 a.m. Sunday in Santa Barbara and was expected to continue into today.
By 9:30 p.m. Sunday, downtown Santa Barbara had received 2.46 inches of rain since the storm rolled in at about 9 a.m. Santa Barbara Municipal Airport recorded 1.79 inches, while Montecito saw 2.36 inches, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.
In North County, Lompoc received 0.68 inches while Solvang had 1.56 inches.
The area near Refugio Pass received 2.56 inches.
“For Santa Barbara County that’s the most we have recorded,” said meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie from the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
As the storm moved southeast, the main band passed just west of Santa Barbara, Ms. Hoxsie said. South and southeast wind gusts reached 50 to 60 mph, while lower elevations saw gusts of 35 to 50 mph, according to the Weather Forecast Office in Los Angeles.
The storm is expected to pass by midday today, but showers are predicted to be close behind.
“Once this band goes through we’re expecting showering conditions, that’s the hit-or-miss type of rainfall, to continue,” said Ms. Hoxsie.
Conditions are expected to clear briefly on Tuesday, but more sporadic showers are expected by early Wednesday, Christmas Day, and could last into Thursday.
Officials will be monitoring for flooding and debris flows at that time.
“We could get some showers that are pretty heavy for a short period of time, so we’ll be of course watching that, especially for the burn areas,” Ms. Hoxsie said.
“The areas that do get wet can get brief but heavier rainfall, so what we’re looking at for Wednesday and Thursday is those showering conditions as opposed to this steady rain that moves through today. That could change depending on how the lows swing through the area, but right now it’s looking more ‘showery,’ ” Ms. Hoxsie said.
The rainfall is considered to be average for this time of year, according to Ms. Hoxsie.
“You know the last 10 years haven’t been exactly normal, so this seems like a lot, but this would be considered a typical weather event in most previous years,” said Ms. Hoxsie.
The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for northwest Santa Barbara County but allowed the advisory to expire at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Ms. Hoxsie said.