[Click here for an in-depth look at Santa Barbara County’s recent dry spell and what water managers have to say about the potential for a drought.]
Soggy conditions are in store for the Central Coast through the end of the week as two storm systems are expected to move through the region starting Wednesday, bringing with them as much as an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service” title=“National Weather Service”>National Weather Service.
A cold Northern Pacific storm system is likely to affect Southern California Wednesday through Friday night, with light rain expected to start Wednesday, according to Eric Boldt, a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Rainfall amounts generally should be light, forecasters said, with totals ranging from a tenth to a quarter of an inch, although some areas could receive nearly a half-inch.
Temperatures aren’t expected to exceed 60 degrees, but lows should dip down into the mid-40s Wednesday night.
A second stronger storm system is expected Thursday afternoon through Friday night.
Rainfall totals are expected to be between a third and three-quarters of an inch.
Friday has a 60-percent chance of rain, with highs in the mid-50s, dropping to 30 percent by the evening, with a low near 42.
Saturday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 60 degrees.
Showers and isolated thunderstorms could pop up throughout the period, along with brief heavy rain, small hail and ocean water spouts, Boldt said.
Minor flooding is possible in areas with poor drainage.
Boldt warned that slick, icy highways could result from the storm, and cautioned drivers that Interstate 5, and Highways 2, 14, 33 and 138 could be affected.
The heaviest snowfall is expected Thursday through Friday night, and elevations above 5,000 feet could see six inches of snow; one to three inches is expected at 4,000 feet.
Boldt cautioned drivers about hydroplaning while traveling in lower elevation areas during the expected rains.
The Freedom Warming Centers in Santa Barbara County will be open in four locations for all those seeking shelter on Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
First Presbyterian Church, at 21 E. Constance St. in Santa Barbara, will be open on Wednesday, and a shuttle will be available to take people to the church from the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., at 6:10 p.m. On Thursday, a shuttle will be available from the same address at 5:30 p.m.
Carpinteria Community Church at 1111 Valecito Road, also will be open, as well as Good Samaritan Shelter at 401 W. Morrison Road, Suite B in Santa Maria, and Bridge House Shelter, 2025 Sweeney Road in Lompoc.