A very cold Pacific storm will be pushing its way into Santa Barbara County this week, with drizzle expected to arrive as soon as Monday, rain and thunderstorms by Tuesday, and snow, ice and gusty winds for good measure. Warming centers for the homeless will be open Monday and Tuesday nights.
The National Weather Service said Sunday that the storm is a result of a very cold, upper-level low-pressure system sliding down the California coast from the Gulf of Alaska. Forecasters say drizzle or light rain could develop Monday and continue through Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday afternoon, weather officials say, widespread rain is likely to move over the region, with showers continuing into Wednesday. Thunderstorms are also possible Tuesday, with periods of brief heavy downpours and small hail. As much as a half-inch of rain is expected.
Gusty winds as high as 20-30 mph are also in the forecast Tuesday, with waterspouts possible in the Santa Barbara Channel. Officials warned that high surf may make for treacherous conditions at local beaches.
The weather service said snow levels are likely to range between 3,000 and 4,000 feet on Tuesday, but may drop to between 2,000 and 2,500 feet overnight Tuesday. Local snow levels could fall as low as 1,500 feet with heavier showers or thunderstorms, and a dusting of snow is possible for the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Authorities warned that snow and ice in the mountains could create hazardous driving conditions, especially along Highway 33 in the mountains above Ojai and on Interstate 5 on the Grapevine through the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles. Delays and detours may mean heavier traffic on Highway 101 through Santa Barbara.
Daytime temperatures are only expected to reach the 50s through Wednesday, with overnight lows in the 40s. The storm should be gone by Friday, but cold temperatures are likely to linger with sunny skies and highs in the low 60s through the weekend.
Maria Long, a spokeswoman for the warming centers that provide Santa Barbara County’s homeless with overnight shelter from the inclement weather, said the centers will be open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. The shelters are located at:
» Bridge House Shelter, 2025 Sweeney Road, Lompoc
» Carpinteria Community Church, 1111 Valecito Road, Carpinteria
» Good Samaritan Shelter, 401 W. Morrison Road, Suite B,Santa Maria
» Korean United Methodist Church, 892 Camino del Sur, Isla Vista
» Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1527 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara
For updates, call the hotline at 805.324.2372. For donations or questions, call 805.452.5466.
» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.