More heavy rain expected today increasing threat of debris flow, flooding
More precipitation from Wednesday’s winter rainstorm is expected to hit Santa Barbara County through tonight.
The National Weather Service in Oxnard is calling for another one to three inches of moderate to heavy rainfall across the county today, bringing total storm accumulations to two to six inches.
The main front of the storm hovered over San Luis Obispo County Wednesday, but today the storm is expected to “slide down the coast” and drop precipitation over Santa Barbara County for most of the day, Meteorologist Joe Sirard told the News-Press.
Some areas on the Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County saw up to six inches of rain on Wednesday, according to weather officials.
As the storm system shifts, heavier rains are expected in Santa Barbara this afternoon.
“(San Luis Obispo County) got hammered, absolutely hammered with rain up there,” Mr. Sirard said.
Despite consistent rain showers throughout today, weather officials say the chance of mudslides remains low throughout the South Coast.
Santa Barbara is two years removed from the Cave Fire and Montecito is about three years removed from the Thomas Fire, and weather officials say vegetation has been growing back adequately, which should prevent a mudslide.
“At the Thomas Fire burn areas, we’re not concerned at all about mudflows,” Mr. Sirard said. “It’s been a long enough time with enough growth that we don’t expect any problems.”
During the day today, heavy rains could lead to some flash flooding, Mr. Sirard said, and the weather service is closely monitoring debris flow, though they expect it to be mild.
On Wednesday, the city of Santa Barbara saw less than one inch of rainfall, Goleta recorded about 1.5 inches rainfall and Montecito saw just over half an inch.
Greater rain totals were recorded in the foothills and in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Alisal Reservoir in Santa Ynez recorded 2.5 inches of rain, and Solvang saw nearly two inches.
The highest rainfall total in Santa Barbara County Wednesday was recorded at Rancho San Julian with a total of nearly 3.5 inches of rain, according to public works officials.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, other notable 24-hour rain totals included: Tecelote Canyon, 2.84 inches; Lompoc City Hall, 2.74 inches; Refugio Pass, 2.44 inches; Lake Cachuma, 2.22 inches; Gaviota Coast, 2.07 inches; Gibraltar Reservoir, 1.86 inches; Buellton Fire Station, 1.65 inches; UCSB, 1.20 inches; Los Alamos Fire Station, 1.10 inches; Santa Barbara City College, 0.93 inches; and Los Olivos, 0.83 inches.
As a result of the storm, Santa Barbara County Public Works Department closed Foothill Road in Cuyama from Kirschenmann Road to State Route 33 until around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The road often experiences flooding during storms, so the department decided it was safest to close, according to Lael Wageneck, spokesman for the county Public Works Department.