Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 4:43 am | Fair 63º


Local News

Strong Winds, Rain Leaving Wake of Downed Trees, Destruction

A tree crushes a vehicle and knocks out power near Haley and Bath streets, and a possible sinkhole is forming on Modoc Road

The damage — and inconvenience — of winter storms sweeping through Santa Barbara County this week continued Thursday with more downed trees, road closures and a report of a possible sinkhole.

A large tree on the Santa Barbara School District’s Las Flores Preschool campus, at Haley and Bath streets, fell shortly before noon Thursday, pulling down power lines and partially blocking Haley Street. A female driver was inside a vehicle when power lines fell on it, but she was able to get out after Southern California Edison shut off the power.

West Haley Street will be closed between Bath and De La Vina streets until further notice, and many Edison customers in the area will be without power for an indefinite amount of time.

Multiple vehicles parked along Haley Street sustained major damage because of the fallen tress and power poles, but there were no reports of injuries.

Resident Jed Tucker, who works nearby, reported severe winds, possibly about 100 mph, for about 15 seconds and large branches flying by his office window.

School district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said parents were notified that the children are safe but can’t be released until the area is clear. The school’s afternoon session was canceled.

A large tree was down and blocking traffic at Salinas Street and Eucalyptus Hill Road, and police received several calls of a possible sinkhole forming on Modoc Road at Veronica Springs.

After a spate of falling tree limbs this week, residents are advised not to park under or near trees during the storms.

Also on Thursday, officials reported that Mountain Drive around the Cold Springs Crossing was impassable because flooding. The 2500 and 2600 blocks of Bella Vista in Montecito are impeded by slides, but the road remains passable. Motorists are advised to use caution. In addition, a boulder is in the road at 900 Park Lane in Santa Barbara.

In Santa Maria, Cooley Lane at Thornburg Street, Black Road between Betteravia and Stowell roads, and Betteravia Road between Black and Mahoney roads have been closed because of flooding. Drivers can take Mahoney Road as a detour.

Caltrans reported that Interstate 5 (the Grapevine) is closed from the Los Angeles/Kern County line to 25 miles south of Bakersfield because of snow, and it could affect Highway 101 traffic as more motorists are rerouted.

As of Wednesday evening, Santa Barbara had received about 3½ inches of rain and about 6 inches in mountain areas since Sunday.

County officials said the rain is likely to continue into Thursday evening. It was expected to get pretty windy, too. About 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service’s Doppler Radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.

Friday also holds a high possibility of rain all day, and there’s a 20 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

The county is urging residents to remain vigilant since the weather is ever-changing, especially near the Gap, Tea and Jesusita burn areas.

A power outage was reported Wednesday morning in the Coast Village Road/High Road/Butterfly Road area. Some power had been restored, and Southern California Edison crews were working to get all of the power back online.

Sailboats run aground amid the wind and rain Wednesday afternoon near East Beach
Sailboats run aground amid the wind and rain Wednesday afternoon near East Beach. (Greg Huglin photo)

About 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, city police and fire crews rescued a 70-year-old man who was partially in the water of Mission Creek near 2700 Vernon Drive and was unable to get out on his own.

The man, a resident of Mission Terrace convalescent care facility, 623 W. Junipero St., suffered hypothermia but is expected to make a full recovery.

The facility’s staff reported that the man voluntarily left Tuesday afternoon with a woman. The man, who suffers from dementia, told police he voluntarily left the facility but not with a woman. He couldn’t explain how he got into the creek.

County Public Works initiated a 24-hour levee patrol as flows were estimated at more than 10,000 cubic feet per second in the Santa Maria River. Public Works ordered dredging cranes for Goleta Slough and will start dredging as soon as possible. The department is also cleaning out debris basins and have reported no significant problems.

Dangerous rip currents on all area beaches are expected through much of the week. The National Weather Service is advising even experienced swimmers to stay out of the water, and that rocks and jetties will be especially dangerous because waves can suddenly sweep people in.

County officials are advising the public to stay out of creeks, streams and riverbeds, and county Public Works crews have been on patrol to monitor river basins and creeks to keep them clear of debris and flowing.

Cachuma Lake was closed Thursday for boating activity, and it’s still unclear whether the lake will be open this weekend. Also, public access has been closed for Goleta Beach Pier.

On Tuesday morning, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded to a possible tornado in a residential neighborhood near Phelps Road in Goleta. Responders found a tree had been uprooted, a fence knocked down and a basketball hoop toppled.

Capt. David Sadecki said a small tornado could have touched down, but there weren’t any witnesses to confirm that. No injuries were reported.

No evacuation orders or warnings have been issued yet for anywhere in Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >