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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 6:41 am | Fair 39º


Midweek Storm Not Expected to Cause Debris Flows in Santa Barbara County Burn Areas

National Weather Service predicts rainfall rates of 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch per hour for storm forecast to arrive late Wednesday

Cooler, cloudy weather and rain are in store for Santa Barbara County later this week, with a storm expected to hit late Wednesday.

Forecast models differ in their timing for the storm's arrival, according to the National Weather Service, but rainfall between Wednesday night and Thursday night is expected to total anywhere from 0.5 inches to 2 inches.

As of Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service and Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said the storm is not predicted to cause debris flows.

Rainfall rates of a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch per hour are expected, said weather specialist Bonnie Bartling of the NWS Office in Oxnard

Those rates are below the debris flow threshold triggers, but the OEM continues to monitor the storm, emergency manager Brian Uhl said Monday.

Santa Barbara County emergency managers have said there is potential for debris flows with rainfall rates of 0.8 inch per hour in the Thomas Fire burn area (above Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria) and 1 inch per hour in the Whittier Fire burn area (in the western Goleta Valley and Lake Cachuma/Highway 154 area).

Click here for the latest debris flow risk map for Santa Barbara County.

If thunderstorms become more likely as the storm gets closer, the rainfall rate forecast could increase to 1 inch per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The OEM message sent through Aware & Prepare on Sunday noted that this week’s storm is expected to be stronger than last week’s event, which dropped less than an inch of rain in most areas and did not cause any significant flooding or debris flows.

Click here to sign up for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management Aware & Prepare alerts that can be sent via email, text message, robo-call, or all of the above.

This storm will bring colder temperatures Thursday into Friday, with highs in the low-60s, compared to Monday and Tuesday’s warm 70s weather, Bartling said.

As of Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara’s South Coast has a 60-percent chance of rain forecast Wednesday, 90-percent chance Wednesday night and 100-percent chance Thursday. The majority of the rainfall is expected Thursday, Bartling said.

The storm’s timing “kind of depends on when it gets started up north, and how fast it tracks to get to Santa Barbara,” she said.

The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of showers Thursday night, and then a break between that storm system and another one expected to bring a slight chance of rain on Saturday.

The rain from the midweek storm could start sooner for northern and central areas of Santa Barbara County, which have a 30-percent chance of rain starting Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory for potentially high surf and strong rip currents, from Tuesday afternoon through Friday evening.

Click here for the latest Santa Barbara forecast from the National Weather Service.

Click here for the latest Santa Maria forecast from the National Weather Service. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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