Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 11:53 am | Overcast 62º


Local News

Santa Barbara Weathers Just About Everything in Latest Storm

Flash-flood watch canceled early Sunday after rain, hail, snow, wind and a tornado warning take their shots

A tumultuous, slow-moving Pacific storm threw a little bit of everything at the Central Coast on Saturday, including rain, hail, snow, wind, thunderstorms — and a tornado warning for good measure. As if that weren’t enough, Ventura County was hit from below with a late afternoon earthquake.

Saturday dawned with sunshine in Santa Barbara but by early afternoon clouds had rolled in, accompanied by showers and punctuated by thunder. The rain, heavy at times, kept up through much of the day and cold, moist and unstable air behind the storm spawned hail in western Goleta, scattered thunderstorms and dropped snow across the mountains above the South Coast.

The National Weather Service extended a flash-flood watch until 3 a.m. Sunday for the burn areas of the Jesusita and La Brea fires. Brief periods of rainfall of more than an inch an hour and small hail were expected Saturday night but those conditions failed to materialize. By midnight, skies began to clear as the storm moved east out of the area.

Just after 6 p.m. Saturday, Doppler radar detected a severe thunderstorm moving ashore near La Conchita. The size and intensity of the storm was capable of producing a tornado and the weather service issued a tornado warning for La Conchita and Lake Casitas as the storm moved through. No funnel clouds or wind damage were reported and the warning was canceled at 6:45 p.m.

Snow levels have dropped to between 1,500 and 2,000 feet and the weather service said 1 to 3 inches of snow were possible on San Marcos Pass. Throughout Saturday, Santa Barbara County residents headed up to the mountains to play in the snow.

According to the county Public Works Department, in the last 48 hours, the storm dumped 3.64 inches of rain on Celite south of Lompoc, 3.30 inches at Alisal Reservoir in the Santa Ynez Valley, 2.79 inches on the Gaviota coast, 2.47 inches at Refugio Pass, 2.30 inches at Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta, 2.21 inches at El Deseo Ranch off Camino Cielo above Montecito, 1.84 inches in Goleta and 1.76 inches in downtown Santa Barbara.

Sunday should see mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 50s, the weather service said. Breezy conditions will continue with northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, and gusts as high as 20 mph. Similar conditions are forecast for the rest of the week, although a chance of showers is likely by next weekend.

High surf and strong rip currents are forecast for west-facing beaches, and gale-force conditions are expected in the outer Santa Barbara Channel.

Although not weather-related, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 2.2-magnitude earthquake near Simi Valley at 3:01 p.m. No injuries or damage were reported.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

Click here for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department’s interactive precipitation map.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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