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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 9:13 pm | Fair 51º


Santa Barbara County Girds for Another Blow of Rain, Snow

Latest storm expected to bring heavy rain and drop snow as low as 1,000 feet on South Coast

A frigid low-pressure system sliding down the California coast from Canada arrived in Santa Barbara County on Friday morning, bringing a forecast of rain, hail, snow, high winds and near-freezing temperatures through Saturday. Scattered showers are expected through Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service said heavy downpours were in the forecast for Friday afternoon and Friday night. Drizzle began falling shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, and by Friday night, expectations of up to an inch of rain had been exceeded along the coast. As many as 3 inches of rain is likely in the foothills and mountains.

As of 7 p.m. Friday, the county Public Works Department reported the most rain at El Deseo Ranch off East Camino Cielo above Montecito, at 2.14 inches. San Marcos Pass recorded 1.85 inches, Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta had 1.78 inches, the Edison Trail above Carpinteria 1.77 inches, Mount Calvary 1.57 inches, Montecito 1.49 inches, Carpinteria 1.37 inches, Santa Barbara 1.33 inches and Goleta 1.02 inches.

Snow is expected to fall above the 4,000-foot level Friday so 3,995-foot La Cumbre Peak could get a dusting. By Friday night, however, snow levels are expected to drop between 500 and 1,500 feet on the South Coast, affecting elevations ranging from from 2,225-foot San Marcos Pass to 1,069-foot Toro Canyon County Park in Carpinteria. Light snow showers are possible Saturday, as well.

Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass may be affected by snow and icy conditions, weather service officials warned.

Up to 2 feet of snow is possible above 5,000 feet in Santa Barbara County’s backcountry and snow could fall as low as 500 feet north of Point Conception.

A very cold, unstable air mass is behind the cold front, and the weather service said there is a slight chance of thunderstorms through Saturday, along with the potential for hail. Strong southwest winds gusting to 50 mph are possible, and could bring whiteout conditions at higher elevations. The weather service said the thunderstorms are expected to be strong enough to generate waterspouts offshore.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services said there was a high probability that vital travel routes, such as Interstate 5 over the Grapevine, could close because of weather conditions. Previous closures have had significant impacts in the county as travelers detoured to Highway 101. The OES advised drivers to plan on more travel time being needed.

Authorities also advised hikers, campers and motorists to be prepared for winter weather and to be mindful that conditions can change quickly during this time of year. Authorities also asked that motorists use caution when driving in snowy and icy conditions, and to have full gas tanks, extra food and water and an emergency kit in their vehicles.

A week ago, four hikers were rescued near Cathedral Peak above Santa Barbara after they were caught in a fast-developing snowstorm Saturday. Two of the hikers were treated for hypothermia.

Friday’s high temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-50s on the South Coast, with overnight lows in the 40s. Saturday will see much colder temperatures, with daytime highs in the 40s and low 30s expected Saturday night.

Sunday’s forecast calls for high temperatures only in the low 50s with night-time temperatures in the mid-30s. By Tuesday, daytime temperatures should be back in the 60s.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

Click here for the county Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Follow the OES on Facebook.

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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