Along with this week’s rain comes the cold, and authorities are warning local residents to take precautions for the coming winter months.

Sub-freezing temperatures could hit the area at night, and there is likely to be black ice on local roadways.

The cold temperatures could endanger crops and freeze outdoor pipes or irrigation systems, Santa Barbara County communications director William Boyer said in a news release.

The forecast for the rest of the week includes rain on Thursday, and a chance of showers Friday and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

A Santa Barbara homeless man died from the cold Monday night, and social worker Ken Williams said he worries more such deaths are likely to come. There have been 28 homeless deaths in 2009 in Santa Barbara.

Local agencies provide beds and meals for the homeless population, and some open up more beds for winter months. Some such services include Casa Esperanza and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.

Casa Esperanza’s winter shelter has 200 beds available from Dec. 1 to March 31, which includes breakfast and dinner, showers and medical support.

The Rescue Mission provides beds for the homeless in addition to its 12-month residential treatment program. Each day, 70 to 90 men and 10 to 24 women and children can stay the night and receive free meals.

Residents are advised to stay warm and dry as much as possible during the cold snap. Home temperatures should be monitored, especially with infants and the elderly in the house, since they are more susceptible to the cold.

To avoid hypothermia, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department advises people to keep their heads covered, wear water-repellent clothing and avoid highly strenuous activities. Hypothermia can happen even at temperatures above 40 degrees if people are chilled from rain, sweat or being submerged in cold water.

Click here for more tips from the city’s Office of Emergency Services.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at