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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 2:54 am | Fair 52º


Fast-Moving Pre-Christmas Storm Soaks Santa Barbara County

'Gully-washer' dumps more than 2 inches of rain in some locations; clear skies expected Christmas Day

Umbrellas were out in force in downtown Santa Barbara on Friday, as a fast-moving storm soaked the region, dropping more than 2 inches of rain in some locations. Click to view larger
Umbrellas were out in force in downtown Santa Barbara on Friday, as a fast-moving storm soaked the region, dropping more than 2 inches of rain in some locations. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

If substantial rainfall was on anyone's wish list in Santa Barbara County, the Jolly Old Elf came through on Friday, two days before Christmas.

A fast-moving storm soaked the region in the afternoon and evening hours, prompting an extended Flash Flood Watch and a High Surf Advisory.

As of 11:30 p.m., San Marcos Pass was the county’s wettest spot, with 2.24 inches recorded, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

Just behind it was Tecolote Canyon, just west of Goleta, with 2.22 inches.

“It’s a gully-washer,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “Tomorrow evening, the rain shifts towards and lingers in the mountain areas.”

Other rainfall ;totals included 1.93 inches in Montecito, 1.77 inches in Santa Barbara, 1.32 inches in Goleta, 1.01 inches in Santa Maria, and 0.92 inches in Lompoc.

Gibraltar Reservoir received 1.45 inches, followed by Jameson Reservoir with 1.31 inches and Lake Cachuma received 0.92 inches.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for local burn areas, which expired at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

The concern was for the potential for minor mud and debris flows in and around the Sherpa and Rey Fire areas.

Rain was expected to continue until Saturday morning for South Coast valley and coastal regions, Seto said.

Following Friday’s showers, a high surf advisory was issued.

The warning was in place for north- and northwest-facing beaches in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and was to remain in effect until 3 p.m Sunday.

Waves of 9 to 13 feet are expected through Sunday afternoon, mainly over the northwest facing beaches, forecasters said.

“Beachgoers are advised to use extreme caution when walking near the water,” according to a statement released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The Coast Guard recommends that during this period of high surf, beachgoers remain well clear of the beach and shore where waves make landfall.”

Forecasters were calling for a 20-percent chance of rain Saturday morning, giving way to clear skies with highs near 60.

Overnight lows were expected around 40, with mostly clear skies through next week.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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