STORM WATCH 2019: ‘It will still pack a punch’
The last in a long stretch of storms hitting the Southern California area were expected to result in a wet commute for travelers this morning before subsiding later this afternoon.
Widespread and heavy showers were expected during the overnight hours Wednesday. Peak rain was expected between 1 a.m. and 11 a.m. today. Tapping into moisture forming over the ocean known as an atmospheric river, coastal areas could receive up to 3 inches of rain with up to 5 inches falling in higher elevations, however rainfall intensities were expected to remain below debris flow thresholds for the Thomas Fire and Whittier Fire burn areas, officials said.
“We do expect widespread and steady rain,” said Keily Delerme, meteorologist with the Weather Service. “That combination of low pressure and the coastal moisture will bring steady rainfall to the area.”
Rainfall rates between 0.5 inches and 0.75 inches were anticipate, just below the debris flow threshold for the Thomas Fire burn area of 0.8 inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Intermittent showers were experienced throughout the day on Wednesday before heavier rain occurred during the overnight hours.
“I think it will still pack a punch with that sort of rainfall,” said Dave Samuhel, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.
Rain was expected to conclude by this afternoon for the Santa Barbara area, with showers lingering over the Los Angeles area into this evening, weather officials said.
There was a possibility of thunderstorms developing offshore, which could bring heavier rain totals; however weather officials said the chance of thunderstorms was expected for portions of San Luis Obipso County and areas north of Point Conception.
Evacuation orders were issued Tuesday morning for residents who live in areas susceptible for debris flows. Those orders were rescinded at 6 p.m. Tuesday just eight hours after going into effect. With the Thomas Fire burn scar now in its second year, there was more concern for debris flows further south in the area of the recent Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to officials.
A flash flood watch was issued through 9 a.m. today for the recent burn areas in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and San Luis Obispo County.
A flood advisory issued around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday for northwestern Ventura County and southeastern Santa Barbara County was set to expire around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. Rainfall rates up to 0.5 inches per hour were expected to cause roadway and local flooding and minor mudslides and rockslides.
As of 8 p.m., some areas of the county had received nearly 1 inch of rainfall over a 24-hour period. Some notable rain totals include: Tecelote Canyon, 0.86 inches; San Marcos Pass, 0.84; East Camino Cielo, 0.69; Jameson Reservoir, 0.62; and Upper Romero Canyon, 0.55, according to the county Public Works Department.
After the storm moves through the area conditions are expected to dry out into the weekend.
The forecast for Friday calls for mostly sunny skies and a high near 65 degrees. North to northwest wind gusts up to 15 mph were expected.
A high of 72 degrees was forecast Saturday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-60s expected through Wednesday, according to the Weather Service.
A high surf advisory issued earlier this week will remain in effect until 9 p.m. Friday. Breaking waves of 3 to 6 feet with sets to 7 feet were expected along west-facing beaches through this morning. Surf will build to 5 to 8 feet this afternoon.
High tides around 6 feet were expected early this morning, and up to 6.5 feet early Friday which could cause minor coastal flooding.
There was potential for even larger surf Thursday evening through Friday, with waves 8 to 12 feet for exposed west-facing beaches. The surf was expected to begin to subside Friday evening but could persist into early Saturday, according to the Weather Service.
The high surf will bring an increased risk for ocean drowning. Rip currents and large breaking waves were possible, however no significant damage was expected.