Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 8:46 pm | Fair 69º


Local News

South Coast Under Flash-Flood, High-Wind Warnings But Storm Dropping South

75 mph gusts possible Sunday with heavy rain, thunderstorms expected through Monday

A powerful Pacific storm began moving ashore Saturday evening, spurring the National Weather Service to issue multiple warnings and advisories for Santa Barbara County through Monday. A flash-flood warning was issued for the South Coast, and specifically the Jesusita Fire burn area, until 1 p.m. Sunday.

Rainfall of up to an inch an hour is expected until late morning Sunday. The good news is that National Weather Service radar at 9:30 a.m. was showing the bulk of the storm moving to the east offshore of the South Coast. Still, bands of severe weather were striking along the Santa Ynez Mountains.

As of early Sunday, flash-flood, high-wind and storm warnings, and flooding, high-surf and small-craft advisories are in effect for the South Coast. Officials said the storm could deliver the strongest winds of the winter season, which actually ends Sunday afternoon with the spring equinox at 4:21 p.m.

The high-wind warning is in effect from 3 a.m. Sunday until 6 p.m. Sunday. Weather service officials said southeast to south winds are expected to rapidly increase in velocity Sunday morning to 25 to 35 mph, with gusts above 75 mph, before shifting to the southwest and subsiding by Sunday evening. The strongest winds are expected in the foothills and along the shoreline. Montecito was being swept by steady 30 mph wind Sunday morning.

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

A general flood advisory was upgraded to a flash-flood warning Sunday, and the weather service said Montecito; Santa Barbara, especially Mission Canyon and the Jesusita Fire burn area; and Santa Maria were most at-risk. Goleta was experiencing heavy downpours Sunday.

Just before dawn Sunday, the weather service said Doppler radar was tracking a large area of moderate to locally heavy rain over western Santa Barbara County and along most of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The California Highway Patrol said numerous low-lying roadways were closed because of flooding, including Highway 1/San Julian Road southeast of Lompoc and Highway 135 at Highway 101 in Santa Maria.

Officials 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 Sunday morning 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 with thunderstorms possible through early Monday.

As of 10:15 a.m. Sunday, the county Public Works Department reported that El Deseo Ranch off East Camino Cielo above Montecito had recorded 7.89 inches of rainfall in the last 48 hours, San Marcos Pass 7.17 inches, Mount Calvary 7.02 inches, Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta 5.47 inches, Goleta 4.67 inches, the Gaviota coast 3.61 inches, downtown Santa Barbara 3.48 inches and Carpinteria 2.67 inches. Lake Cachuma had recorded 9.38 inches, the most in the county.

Authorities advised motorists to drive with caution as widespread ponding of water on roadways and flooding of low-lying areas are likely. More snow is expected in the backcountry.

A high-surf advisory is in effect until 9 a.m. Monday. Breakers of 6 to 8 feet are expected through early Monday on exposed south-facing beaches and strong rip currents are likely. Officials said high astronomical tides may cause tidal overflows, beach erosion and minor flooding of low-lying areas. Sunday’s high tides will occur around 10 a.m. and again between 10 and 11 p.m.

A storm warning is in effect from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday for the Santa Barbara Channel between Point Conception and Point Mugu. Winds with frequent gusts up to 50 knots and rough seas are forecast.

Recreational boaters are advised to stay in port or take shelter until winds and waves subside. Commercial vessels are also advised to prepare for very strong winds and dangerous seas.

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 obscured 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 — along the South Coast. 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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