It appears that the winter season has finally set in.
Just one week removed from a record-breaking heatwave that consumed Santa Barbara and the rest of Southern California, rain sprinkles, small hail — and even a light dusting of snow — descended from the sky throughout the county on Saturday.
Rainfall accumulations on Saturday were at a minimum throughout Santa Barbara County, though more rain is expected as early as tonight, followed by a stronger storm system that could affect the area later this week.
Today’s forecast calls for a high of 65 degrees, along with wind gusts up to 20 mph. A 50% chance of rain is possible tonight, as conditions dip into the mid 40s, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
The chance for rain will continue into Monday, with a 40% chance of showers during the day, followed by a 20% chance of showers Monday night.
The weather system is excited to spread rain and mountain snow through Monday, with snow levels dropping as low as 3,500 feet tonight and to as low as 1,500 feet on Monday, according to the weather service.
In addition, advisory level wind gusts are possible on Monday, with the strongest winds expected in the foothills and mountains, with wind gusts possibly approaching warning levels.
Through Monday night, up to 0.30 inches is expected along coastal areas, with up to 0.6 inches in mountains. Snow accumulations between 2 to 4 inches are expected between 3,500 to 4,000 feet, with 4 to 8 inches possible for elevations above 4,500 feet.
Conditions are expected to clear up briefly on Tuesday, though there is a chance for rain starting Tuesday night through Friday, according to the weather service.
The rainfall will be met with below-average temperatures ranging in the high 50s to low 60s throughout the week.
Significant rain is expected Wednesday through Friday, with early estimates of 1 to 3 inches for coast and valleys and 3 to 6 inches in local mountains. Snow accumulations are possible for elevations at 5,500 to 6,000 feet, officials said.
The upcoming wet weather will certainly provide some much-needed precipitation to the region.
As of Saturday, Santa Barbara County has received just 30% of the “normal-to-date” rainfall for the 2021 water year, which started Sept. 1, 2020 and runs through Aug. 31, 2021.
Overall, the county has received just 13% of the “normal water-year” rainfall, according to the county Flood Control District.
For comparison, the 2019 water year yielded 128% of normal rainfall, while the 2020 water year yielded 92% of normal.
According to the data, the city of Santa Barbara receives about 18.4 inches of rain per year during the water year. So far this year, only 2.23 inches of rainfall has accumulated.
The city of Santa Maria averages around 13.33 inches per year, with this year’s figure at 2.10 inches so far.
Though only trace amounts of rain were observed in the city of Santa Barbara on Saturday, some areas received more than a half-inch of rain throughout the day, according to the county Public Works Department.
Montecito registered about 0.60 inches on Saturday, marking one of the highest in the county.
Santa Maria recorded about one-third of an inch, as did Tecolote Canyon.
Just over a quarter-inch of rain was measured at Lake Cachuma, with most coastal areas reporting less than 0.15 inches.