Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 4:55 am | Partly Cloudy 50º

Lots of Weather Headed to Santa Barbara County

Rain, snow, wind and big surf all in the forecast through the weekend

As evening clouds build in Wednesday ahead of an impending winter storm, a photographer waits for just the right light at Arroyo Burro Beach near Santa Barbara.
As evening clouds build in Wednesday ahead of an impending winter storm, a photographer waits for just the right light at Arroyo Burro Beach near Santa Barbara.  (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

By Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol | updated logo 8:22 a.m. |

Rain, snow, wind, frost, big surf and high tides.

The next few days in Santa Barbara County will be a weather geek’s paradise, as an especially cold winter storm moves through the region.

“We’ll get a little bit of everything, actually,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

A large low-pressure system was expected to arrive Thursday into Friday, bringing isolated showers and a lot of wind, Sirard said.

Higher elevations may see snow showers — as low as 2,000 feet. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible in some areas.

Interstate 5 over the Grapevine, north of Los Angeles, was closed Thursday morning due to snow and ice, according to Caltrans.

A wind advisory will be in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday until 4 a.m. Friday, with gusts as high as 60 mph, Sirard said.

Daytime temperatures will be quite chilly, Sirard said, with highs reaching only into the upper-40s and low-50s.

Overnight lows will plunge below freezing in some areas — especially Friday night into Saturday.

“There could be in excess of six hours of temperatures below freezing across some valley areas, potentially causing significant damage to plants and crops,” according to a special weather statement issued by the National Weather Service.

“It looks very likely there will be frost and local freeze conditions — below 28 degrees,” Sirard said. “It’s a classic pattern for bringing in very cold weather for the West Coast in the winter.

“It’s not going to be a catastrophic freeze event, we don’t think, but it will be very cold.”

In addition to the wet and cold, high tides and large surf will combine to present a threat of minor coastal flooding, Sirard said.

A coastal flood advisory will be in effect from 5 a.m. Thursday until 11 a.m. Saturday in northern Santa Barbara County, with some west-facing beaches seeing breakers to 15 feet, Sirard said.

South Coast beaches, mainly near Rincon and the county line, could see some potential for flooding, and breakers are expected in the 6- to 8-foot range.

Exceptionally high “king tides” are expected — 7.9 feet at 7:20 a.m. Thursday, 7 feet at 8:10 a.m. Friday and 6.8 feet at 9 a.m. Saturday — which also could lead to localized flooding, Sirard said.

Other than Thursday, skies should be clear, with a slow warming trend expected early next week.

With the exceptionally low temperatures, the Freedom Warming Centers in Santa Barbara County will be open on various schedules Thursday through Tuesday nights, providing a respite from the cold for the homeless.

Hours of operation for all the centers are 6 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara, will be open Thursday and Friday nights.

First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave., will be open Saturday through Tuesday nights. There will be a 6 p.m.  shuttle to the church from the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St.

St. Michaels University Religious Center, 6585 Picasso Road in Isla Vista, will be open Sunday through Tuesday nights.

A new participant in the program, Carpinteria Community Church at 1111 Vallecito Road, will be open Sunday through nights.

Good Samaritan Shelter,  401 W. Morrison Rd. #B in Santa Maria, will be open Thursday through Tuesday nights, as will the Bridge House Shelter, 2025 Sweeney Road in Lompoc.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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