Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 12:46 am | Fair 61º


Local News

Gusty Winds, Torrential Rains Slam Santa Barbara County

Emergency crews kept busy with flooding, downed trees and power outages

Gusty winds and torrential rains deluged Santa Barbara County Thursday night and early Friday, knocking down tree branches, and causing widespread power outages and localized flooding.

Shortly after midnight, the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning — expected to last until 2:15 a.m. — for much of the county's South Coast, as a band of heavy rainfall was moving through the region.

Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches per hour were being recorded, and many intersections in Goleta and Santa Barbara were reported flooded.

As of 8:40 a.m., Guadalupe had received 3.1 inches of rain, and localized flooding was reported near the city. There were reports families were being evacuated on Pioneer Street in Guadalupe due to flooding.

Santa Maria had recorded 3.16 inches of rain, and a roof collapsed at the Okonite plant in the 2900 block of Skyway Drive.

"The structure did have people inside of it at the time of the collapse,” said Battalion Chief Ed Hadfield of the Santa Maria Fire Department. “At this time, we’ve removed everybody from the structure. I do not believe there were injuries at this time — we’re checking further — and we’re securing the building for the organization.”

That was one of many calls emergency crews responded to Thursday night, Hadfield said. There was at least one unconfirmed report of another building collapse in Santa Maria. 

“We’ve had numerous people stuck and stranded in vehicles as a result of the flooding,” he said.

Flooding also was reported at the east end of the Santa Barbara Airport, in the Goleta foothills along Cathedral Oaks Road, and in Isla Vista.

There were reports that the Albertsons supermarket in Buellton sustained structural damage after the wind blew a tree into it, and a tree crashed into a house in the 1200 block of Via Pavion in Orcutt, where 3.16 inches of rain had fallen.

There also was a report that 60 mph winds were creating severe dust storms and near zero visibility in New Cuyama in the county's northeast corner. As a result, officials were preparing to shut down Highway 166 in both directions between Santa Maria and Highway 33.

San Marcos Pass had received 5.04 inches of rain by 8:40 a.m., Goleta recorded 2.66 inches, while Santa Barbara received 2.19 inches.

The Santa Barbara Airport recorded maximum wind speeds of 46 mph, while readings of 76 mph were reported at La Cumbre Peak in the mountains above Santa Barbara, 62 mph at the Santa Ynez Airport, 48 mph at  the Lompoc Airport, and 44 mph in Santa Maria, according to the National Weather Service.

Emergency crews were kept busy through the evening with a variety of weather-related problems, including downed limbs and power lines in numerous locations.

More than 3,700 customers were reported without power in the Outer State Street area of Santa Barbara, according to the Southern California Edison outage map.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was reporting more than 6,700 customers without power in Santa Maria, and some 1,400 in the Lompoc Valley.

National Weather Service forecasters said the heaviest rainfall was expected to occur between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. in the Santa Barbara area, and somewhat earlier in the North County.

Forecasters were warning of the potential for strong thunderstorms and severe weather damage as the weather system, fed by "Pineapple Express" moisture, moved through the region.

Wind and High Surf advisories were in effect for most of the Central Coast.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

[Click here for the updated forecast]

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully contributed to this report.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

A shopping center on Broadway in Santa Maria is littered with fallen tree limbs Thursday night. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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