Waves splash tall and loud on the day after a night of heavy rain
Long after the heavy rainfall stopped, Mother Nature wasn’t done with her show.
Powerful, loud waves towered Thursday above the Goleta Pier and crashed with fury into Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara as amazed spectators watched.
The drama also was seen Thursday in the rapid currents in creeks in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Montecito.
In San Jose Creek in Goleta, two dogs were caught up in swift water for approximately one mile. They were rescued by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue team with help from the Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control. (Before the rescue, a photo from County Fire showed one of the dogs had climbed to safety on a piece of wooden debris.)
One of the dogs was rescued by a three-firefighter team who walked into the creek, where the water was up to their waists or higher. One firefighter carried the dog.
The other canine was rescued by a firefighter who used a rope system, according to Capt. Scott Safechuck, public information officer for County Fire.
This all happened around 8:30 a.m.
Earlier on Thursday, rock slides on State Route 154 led to the highway’s closure between State Routes 246 and 192. The highway wasn’t reopened until 3 p.m.
And because of flooding, Refugio Road was closed.
Elsewhere, there were fallen trees and branches — the signs of a powerful, overnight storm. According to the Santa Barbara County Flood District, 3.87 inches of rain fell within a 24-hour period on the San Marcos Pass and 3.46 inches at Cachuma Dam.
Lake Cachuma’s level stood at 693.65 acre-feet on Thursday. That’s about a third of its capacity.
The flood district reported that nearly 2 inches of rain fell in Santa Barbara, a little over an inch in Goleta and 1.47 inches in Carpinteria. Again, those numbers are for a 24-hour period.
The rainfall was similar in North County. During the same period, Santa Ynez saw 2.16 inches of rain; Buellton, 2.6 inches; Santa Maria, 1.44 inches. Los Alamos experienced 1.54 inches; Lompoc, nearly 2 inches.
The highest amount of rainfall was reported at Gibraltar Dam, which experienced 4.8 inches of rain.
The driest spot in the county appeared to be Cuyama, which experienced less than a half an inch in the same 24-hour period.
The National Weather Service said less rain fell than expected.
But before the worst of the storm hit, Santa Barbara County didn’t take any chances.
The county issued evacuation orders at 3 p.m. Wednesday for the entire Alisal Fire burn area and the vulnerable sections of the Cave Fire and Thomas Fire burn areas.
The county ended all the evacuation orders at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
“While we are able to allow residents to return home, we remind everyone that this was a serious storm that caused impacts across the county,” Kelsey Gerckens Buttitta, the Santa Barbara County public information officer, said in a news release. “Please be aware of loose and falling rocks, minor landslides, wet road conditions, down trees and lines.”
Response crews on Thursday continued their clean-ups, repair efforts and assessments.
Today’s forecast calls for nothing but sunshine and blue skies throughout Santa Barbara County. Highs everywhere are expected to be in the low to mid 60s, with the lows in the low to mids 40s.
The National Weather Service said Saturday will be mostly cloudy and that rain is expected to be back on Sunday and continue on Monday and Tuesday.