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Local News

No Evacuations Expected as Weak Storm Approaches Santa Barbara County

Just days after Santa Barbara County officials announced new evacuation protocols in the event of significant rainfall, a weak storm system is approaching the region, and is expected to hit Monday through Wednesday.

But both the county’s Office of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service say the rainfall amounts are forecast to be light — between a quarter of an inch and a half-inch over three days — far less than what would likely cause damaging debris flows in Montecito and other communities below recent burn areas.

“In most situations, we would say this is not a very strong storm,” Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, told Noozhawk on Sunday evening.

“One thing that could give us some problems is if we got a little convective rain ... a little burst of heavier rain.”

Forecasters have pegged the chance of rain at 20 percent beginning at 10 a.m Monday, increasing to 40 percent overnight and through Tuesday night. A slight chance of showers remains in the forecast through Wednesday night.

As of Sunday night, the heaviest rain is expected from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Hoxsie said.

County officials sent out notifications Sunday afternoon about the approaching storm.

“At present, rainfall rates like we experienced in the 1/9 (Jan. 9) debris flow are not forecast, but brief periods of measurable rainfall may be possible in some areas,” according to the alert. “As of noon today, evacuations of the public are not anticipated. However, local officials and the NWS are continuing to monitor the situation should heavier showers develop.”

County officials are urging all residents to register to receive emergency alerts through the countywide Aware and Prepare system by visiting Ready Santa Barbara at http://readysbc.org/.

Temperatures the next several days are expected to be relatively mild, with daytime highs in the mid- to upper-60 and overnight lows in the low 40s.

No additional rain is in the forecast, but Hoxsie said the high-pressure system that has been blocking the storm track this winter appears to be weakening, which would allow future storms to move through the region.

Click here for the latest forecast.

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.

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