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Local News

High Winds, Hazardous Surf On Way to Santa Barbara County’s South Coast

Monday's storm expected to be light on rain, but snow could dust area mountains

This winter may be unexpectedly mild so far but that’s due to change — at least for Monday — as a powerful storm promises to give Santa Barbara County a wild run for its weather.

The National Weather Service warned Sunday night that a very cold, quickly moving storm will sweep down the Central Coast on Monday. The storm is expected to generate hazardous surf and a high swell, strong and gusty winds, light showers and even a dusting of snow on La Cumbre Peak and backcountry mountains.

The weather service issued a wind advisory for the South Coast from 1 to 10 p.m. Monday. West to northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph, are expected to develop Monday afternoon and persist through Monday evening.

The winds will be especially strong below canyons and passes, and motorists are advised to use caution on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast and on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass.

A coastal hazard advisory is in effect through Tuesday morning, and weather officials warned that a wind-driven swell in the Santa Barbara Channel will produce hazardous surf and the possibility of rip currents. West-facing beaches are considered most at-risk.

Officials say occasional sets of surf in excess of 7 feet will occur between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Inexperienced surfers and swimmers are advised to stay out of the water during these conditions.

A low tide of around 2 feet is forecast between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, followed by a high tide near 4½ feet around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Although the storm is not expected to generate much rain, light showers and drizzle are possible Monday. By daybreak Monday, snow levels could drop to between 2,000 and 3,500 feet, well below 3,995-foot La Cumbre Peak above Santa Barbara and 4,534-foot Figueroa Mountain in the backcountry.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, followed by partly sunny conditions and high temperatures in the upper 50s. Monday night should be mostly clear with temperatures in the low 40s.

Tuesday is expected to be breezy and clear, with daytime temperatures in the upper 50s and overnight lows in the 40s. Northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph, should persist through late Tuesday.

The rest of the week should have daytime temperatures in the low 60s, with a slight chance of rain Wednesday and Thursday.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with 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. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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