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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 9:11 pm | Fair 56º


Tropical Storm Dolores Brings Sights, Sounds We Don’t Get Every Day on the South Coast

Rain, thunderstorms make rare appearance in Santa Barbara County, but may portend more to come over the next few days

After Saturday’s rain, the sun peaks through clouds over the Santa Ynez Valley, from West Camino Cielo peak. Click to view larger
After Saturday’s rain, the sun peaks through clouds over the Santa Ynez Valley, from West Camino Cielo peak. (David Beavers photo)

Tropical Storm Dolores off the coast of Mexico was pushing a moist and unstable air mass toward the Central Coast on Saturday, bringing scattered showers and a chance of thunderstorms and flash flooding in Santa Barbara County.

By late afternoon, official rainfall totals in the county were minimal — no more than 0.03 inches — although some areas reported heavier showers. Montecito was treated to steady flashes of lighting and house-shuddering thunder as a storm cell moved through late Saturday afternoon.

Sunday and Monday are likely to bring a heightened chance of rainfall to the county, especially on the South Coast, according to Curt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“This is just the first part of the remnants of Dolores,” he said, adding that the brunt of Saturday’s wet weather was in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, where some areas saw more than an inch of rain, along with thunder and lightning.

“On Sunday, it’s going to hit everywhere,” Kaplan said.

A flash flood watch was issued by the National Weather Service through Monday for the county’s mountains and for the Cuyama Valley. A flash flood watch means conditions may develop that lead to flooding.

A beach hazards statement also was issued, warning of elevated surf and strong rip tides, especially on south-facing beaches.

Forecasters were calling for a 50-percent chance of rain Saturday afternoon and evening, increasing to 60 percent Sunday and Monday.

But rainfall totals are likely to vary widely by location, Kaplan said.

“It’s really hard to predict when you get this kind of a pattern,” he said. “This is convective, and it’s kind of hit or miss.”

Highs near 80 were expected through Monday, with overnight lows in the low 60s.

More-seasonal weather was expected to return by Wednesday.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» 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 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.

Sunset from West Camino Cielo peak on Saturday evening. (David Beavers photo)
Sunset from West Camino Cielo peak on Saturday evening. (David Beavers photo)

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