Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 9:06 pm | Fair 69º


Local News

Winds Wreak Havoc, But Brighter Days Are Ahead

After another stormy day marked by falling trees, residents can look forward to weekend sunshine

After a long week of heavy rain and strong winds — leaving downed trees, power outages and closed roads in their wake — sunshine should be here to greet Santa Barbara County residents as they move further into the weekend.

Showers and scattered thunderstorms are expected Friday, with a flash flood watch in effect through the evening, but it should taper off into Saturday, which is expected to be mostly sunny, according to the National Weather Service.

County officials and residents are likely to welcome the respite after the recent series of winter storms, with Thursday proving particularly destructive.

Shortly before noon, a large tree toppled at Haley and Bath streets, pulling down power lines, damaging at least 10 vehicles and trapping a woman inside her vehicle. The woman’s car wasn’t hit by the tree, but Capt. Mike Deponce said the Santa Barbara City Fire Department moved limbs and waited for Southern California Edison to cut power to the area before getting her out.

West Haley Street was closed between Bath and De La Vina streets, and the Santa Barbara School District canceled afternoon classes for nearby Las Flores Preschool.

Besides the usual medical calls, Deponce said that about half of the department’s calls on Thursday involved trees, with branches caught in wires, causing them to arc and catch the trees on fire. The Santa Barbara Police Department 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 were impeded by slides, but the road remained passable. In addition, a boulder was in the road at 900 Park Lane in Santa Barbara.

In Santa Maria, several roads closed Thursday because of flooding, but only Black Road between Betteravia and Stowell roads remained closed Friday morning.

Interstate 5 (the Grapevine) was closed from the Los Angeles/Kern County line to 25 miles south of Bakersfield because of snow, which Caltrans warned could affect Highway 101 traffic as motorists were rerouted.

High winds on Wednesday propel the waves at Sandspit
High winds on Wednesday propelled the waves at Sandspit. (John Conroy photo / www.johnconroyimages.com)

The city of Santa Barbara saw nearly an inch of rainfall within the past 24 hours, and Goleta saw nearly 2 inches. In the past five days, the county location that has seen the most rain was La Cumbre Peak, which had more than 8 inches.

Rock falls and muddy runoff have been reported on Highway 154 in the San Marcos Pass area. Officials have advised drivers to proceed with caution while Caltrans crews work on the roads.

No evacuations have occurred this week in Santa Barbara County, and no warnings are in place.

Officials have cautioned residents near the Jesusita, Gap and Tea Fire burn areas to stay vigilant all week, but said Thursday that hillsides affected by heavy rain may be unstable even after the rain stops. Mudslides and debris flows remain a possibility.

“It was not the huge storm with mudslides everywhere that we were expecting,” said Nina Johnson, an assistant to the Santa Barbara city administrator, adding that the city was busy cleaning up minor damage along the waterfront, trees and power lines.

Snow levels are expected to drop, so Santa Barbara County could have snow and icy conditions at the higher elevations of mountains and mountain roadways, according to county officials.

County Public Works crews are in the midst of dredging the Goleta Slough and continue to clear out debris basins.

The Goleta Beach Pier remains closed, and officials will re-evaluate the status of the closure on Friday. Cachuma Lake, Santa Maria’s Waller Park, Ocean Beach and Guadalupe Dunes also are closed and will be reopened when conditions are considered safe.

A high surf advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. Friday. In fact, 12 boats washed ashore in Santa Barbara County during the week. Nine of the boats turned up on East Beach, two washed up below Santa Barbara Cemetery, and one hit Goleta Beach pier and subsequently sank. The public is urged to stay away from creeks and streams.

County Public Works scaled back its 24-hour levee patrol Thursday, and water mains flowing into the pilot channel and levee were moving smoothly.

Officials said Cachuma Lake continues to be in good shape, and lake levels have risen 2 feet in the past 36 hours. Levels would have to rise another 17 feet before officials would need to open gates there.

Power outages are expected to continue and should be reported to Pacific Gas and Electric by calling 800.743.5002.

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 >