Impact felt after rain stops; man still missing in Santa Maria; cruise ship arrives in Santa Barbara
The cruise ship Discovery Princess visited Santa Barbara Wednesday morning, bringing many tourists to Stearns Wharf on a day where the sun and blue sky returned.
But the sun wasn’t everywhere in Santa Barbara County. Clouds blanketed the sky above Solvang, and fog dominated the area at the top of State Route 154.
In fact, the impact of Tuesday’s storm, which dumped 4 inches of rain on San Marcos Pass, was still being experienced on Wednesday.
You could hear the storm’s impact at Montecito Creek, where there was the sound of what News-Press photographer Kenneth Song called a “hearty, healthy flow.”
You could see the storm’s impact on places like Santa Barbara’s Miramonte Drive, where the portion off West Carrillo Street was barricaded because of an apparent mudslide.
The impact was also experienced in Santa Maria, where David Navarro, 32, entered the area around a flood control reservoir on Tuesday night and didn’t return. The reservoir is in the area of Blosser Road and Canal Street, and Santa Maria police officers were dispatched there around 10:59 p.m. Tuesday.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s water rescue team assisted the Santa Maria fire and police departments. County Fire used a rescue boat and utility vehicle to search the water’s surface and embankment.
At 3 a.m. Wednesday, County Fire reported that only a single article of clothing had been identified. It was Mr. Navarro’s jacket.
A citizen reported seeing Mr. Navarro entering the fenced area around the reservoir, but Santa Maria police said no one saw Mr. Navarro go into the water.
The search continued throughout the area, including flood channels, and the California Highway Patrol searched by helicopter. Santa Maria police are asking that anyone with information call 805-928-3781, ext. 2277. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with underwater search of the reservoir.
Elsewhere, there was damage seen from the storm. A slide brought a tree down on Coronel Street in Santa Barbara.
The storm proceeded through Santa Barbara County faster than the National Weather Service expected. The rain came down hard, but during shorter durations that the weather service said cut into the expected rainfall totals.
The rain died down Tuesday evening to a sprinkle, then roared back later for a period later that night. But by Wednesday morning, the rain was back to sprinkle, then disappeared. Most of the county experienced around a half an inch of rain overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather service predicted 2 to 5 inches of rain would fall along the South Coast.
According to the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District, Santa Barbara experienced 3.38 inches of rain between 8 a.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday. Goleta experienced 2.96 inches during the same period. As mentioned previously, San Marcos Pass saw nearly 4 inches of rain (3.78 inches to be precise).
The district released other numbers for the same period as Buellton, 1.28 inches; Cachuma Dam, 1.22 inches; Carpinteria, 2.65 inches; Cuyama, 0.86 inch; Figueroa Mountain, 1.92 inches; Gibraltar Dam, 2.44 inches; Lompoc, 1.53 inches; Los Alamos, 1.39 inches; Santa Maria, 1.34 inches; Santa Ynez, 0.86 inch; and Sisquoc, 1.54 inches.
From Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning, Goleta saw 0.79 inch of rain; Lompoc, 0.48 inch; Santa Maria, 0.44 inch; and New Cuyama, 0.39 inch.
Reservoirs are continuing to do well, thanks to the winter’s storms. As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the flood control district reported Cachuma Reservoir was at 748.03 feet and 92.2% capacity; Gibraltar Reservoir, 1,400 feet and 102.6% capacity; Jameson Reservoir, 2,224.38 feet and 101% capacity. By contrast, Twitchell Reservoir had 623.26 feet of water and was at 55.7% capacity.
By mid-Wednesday morning, sunshine returned, at least on the South Coast. The National Weather Service’s forecast calls for partly or cloudy skies throughout the county through Monday, then rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs are expected to be in the low or mid 60s; the lows in the low to high 40s.
This week’s arrival of Discovery Princess brought a sense of normalcy to Santa Barbara. On Wednesday morning, the city was flooded not by water, but by tourists.