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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 5:45 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º


Thunderstorms Lead to Flooding For Northeastern Santa Barbara County

Flooding and road closures were reported on the eastern edge of Santa Barbara County after thunderstorms moved through the area Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for three hours, starting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, for north-central Santa Barbara County and south-central San Luis Obispo County.

“Up to one-half inch of rain has already fallen in a 10-minute period of time,” the NWS said in the warning. “Flash flooding is imminent and may be already occurring.”

Heavy rain was expected along include Highway 166 between Twitchell Dam and the Cuyama Valley, Figueroa Mountain above the Santa Ynez Valley and Big Pine Mountain.

Bates Ridge near the Cuyama Valley recorded nearly an inch of rain in an hour early Thursday afternoon. For the 48-hour period ending at 6 p.m. Thursday, Bates Ridge recorded 1.54 inches of rain, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

Flooded roadways were reported later Thursday afternoon around the area. Highway 33 at the Wheeler Gorge Campground was closed due to flash flooding in the area, according to California Highway Patrol's emergency dispatch reports.

At 4:30 p.m., water rushing across all lanes was reported 3 miles east of the intersection of highways 166 and 33, the CHP said.  Additionally, Foothill Road from Kirschenmann Road to Highway 33 will be closed indefinitely due to flooding.

And Interstate 5 at the Grapevine was closed in both directions due to heavy rain and mudslides, the CHP said. Southbound lanes were expected to open at approximately 7 p.m., but an estimate wasn't available for when northbound lanes would reopen.

Authorities reminded residents to “turn around -- don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicle, authorities said.

Rainfall totals from the system for the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Thursday were meager for the especially parched Central Coast. Goleta recorded 0.07 of an inch, while Santa Maria received 0.02 and Santa Ynez saw 0.05. New Cuyama received 0.18.

The odd weather led to a record high minimum temperature for the date in Santa Barbara on Tuesday, according to the NWS. The low of 69 degrees was broke the previous record low of 64 degrees set on the date in 2014.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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