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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 10:04 am | Fair 56º


Heavy Rain, High Winds in the Forecast for Saturday Night, Sunday

70 mph gusts possible Sunday, with 2-4 inches of rain expected on South Coast and 4-8 inches in the mountains; flash-flood watch issued for Jesusita Fire burn area

After a beautiful week of weather, a powerful late-winter storm is likely to make for a wild weekend in Santa Barbara County. Cold temperatures, rain, high surf and 70 mph wind are in the forecast through Monday.

The National Weather Service warned that a developing low-pressure system will move ashore overnight Friday, bringing rain and colder temperatures to the South Coast by Saturday morning. Rain began falling in Santa Barbara around 10 p.m. Friday and light rain is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon. High temperatures in the upper 50s are forecast.

By Saturday night, a second, stronger cold front is expected to arrive with rain, mountain snow and gusty winds. The weather service said the South Coast could receive 2 to 4 inches of rain by Monday with 4 to 8 inches possible in the foothills and mountains above Santa Barbara. Weather officials said rainfall intensities late Saturday and early Sunday could approach an inch an hour, with south-facing slopes receiving the brunt of the deluge. The heaviest rainfall is expected over a six- to eight-hour period Sunday.

A flash-flood watch was in effect for the burn areas of the Jesusita and La Brea fires and widespread roadway flooding is forecast. More snow is expected in the backcountry.

A high-wind watch was issued for Santa Barbara County on Sunday with damaging wind gusts in excess of 70 mph possible. Officials said south to southwest winds are expected to rapidly increase in velocity Sunday morning to 25 to 35 mph, with gusts above 70 mph, before peaking in the afternoon. The strongest winds are expected across higher terrains.

Downed trees and power outages are possible and officials warned motorists of hazardous driving conditions with the potential for flying debris. It is recommended that doors, windows and outdoor furniture be secured.

West-facing beaches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties are expected to be pounded by high surf Saturday, and authorities warned of a high risk of rip currents.

Sunday’s high temperatures are expected to reach the low 60s, with overnight lows in the 40s.

Steady showers are forecast for Monday as the storm moves out, with high temperatures in the low 60s.

Tuesday should be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60s.

Another storm system may be headed toward the Central Coast by midweek.

Saturday’s storm will likely obscure a rare “super full moon” — a phenomenon that makes the moon appear about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon because of its proximity to the Earth. The last time the moon’s oval orbit brought it so close to Earth was in 1993.

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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