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Wind, Waves to Pack a Punch on Palm Sunday but Sunshine’s On the Way

Advisories warn of 45 mph wind gusts and high surf; Saturday's storm drops a quarter- to a half-inch of rain on South Coast

Strong winds and high surf are expected to make their presence felt in Santa Barbara County on Sunday as Saturday’s cold storm clears out of the area.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the county until 9 p.m. Sunday. Northwest to north winds of 20 to 30 mph are forecast for the South Coast, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Across the mountains, winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph are likely.

Authorities warned motorists to use caution, especially on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast and on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass.

Meanwhile, a large west to northwest swell will continue to generate big waves and dangerous rip currents Sunday before gradually subsiding. The weather service said a high surf advisory is in effect until noon Monday.

Weather officials say surf is expected to build to 5 to 8 feet Sunday, with local sets of 10 feet possible on exposed west-facing beaches. Maximum sets could reach 25 feet on some Central Coast beaches.

Beachgoers are being urged to exercise caution in and around the water, and should expect dangerous rip currents. Fishermen are being encouraged to stay off of jetties, as large waves can strike with no warning and sweep people into the ocean.

Aside from the wind and the waves, Palm Sunday should be sunny with high temperatures in the upper 60s. Sunday night is expected to be mostly clear with lows in the 40s.

Monday and Tuesday should be warmer, with high temperatures near 70, before the rest of the week cools down to daytime highs in the low 60s.

Cold rain showers swept across the county late Saturday afternoon but precipitation generally ranged between a quarter-inch and a half-inch.

As of 11 p.m. Saturday, gauges monitored by the county Public Works Department had recorded .57 inches of rain at Figueroa Mountain, the most in the county.

Among other rainfall totals: .52 inches in Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta; .47 inches on the Gaviota coast; .42 inches at San Marcos Pass; .35 inches in Goleta; .33 inches in Montecito; .31 inches in Santa Maria; .28 inches in downtown Santa Barbara; .25 inches in Carpinteria, Lompoc and at Lake Cachuma; .22 inches in Los Olivos; .20 inches in Santa Ynez; .17 inches in Los Alamos; .15 inches in Orcutt; .14 inches in Solvang; and .12 inches in Buellton.

» 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 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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