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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 7:57 pm | Fair 53º


Severe Thunderstorms Lash Central Coast

Powerful storms pound Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties with rain, hail and high winds

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for southern Santa Barbara County early Sunday as Doppler radar was tracking powerful storms capable of producing nickel-size hail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.

At 2:25 a.m., the weather service reported one turbulent thunderstorm just southwest of the Santa Barbara Airport, with another similar-sized storm following 10 miles to the west. The line of storms was moving at 30 mph and stretched from west of Refugio Beach to Montecito.

The severe weather warning was called off at 3:30 a.m. Sunday as the heavy rain tapered off. Showers are expected to continue throughout the day Sunday.

Between midnight and 3 a.m. Sunday, the county Public Works Department reported rainfall totals of .47 inches at the Montecito Water District office, .44 inches at El Deseo Ranch off East Camino Cielo above Montecito, .43 inches in Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta and .40 inches at Maria Ygnacio Ridge above Goleta.

Click here for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department’s interactive precipitation map.

Earlier Sunday, the weather service issued severe thunderstorm warnings and flash-flood advisories for San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County as strong storm cells swept across the region from Pismo Beach to Atascadero, with cells drifting south into northern Santa Barbara County. Lompoc, Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley were included in the warning areas.

San Luis Obispo County was pounded by torrential rain, and the weather service reported that several areas recorded up to a half-inch of rain in just five minutes.

The rain is expected to turn to showers along Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Sunday, but wind gusts as high as 30 mph are likely. High temperatures Sunday should be in the upper 50s. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent through nightfall Sunday.

High surf advisories are in effect Sunday for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties Sunday.

The forecast for Monday and Tuesday calls for partly sunny conditions, high temperatures near 60, and a 30 percent chance of showers.

The rest of Thanksgiving week should be sunny with temperatures gradually rising to near 70 degrees by Friday. Thanksgiving Day is expected to be sunny and in the mid-60s, the weather service said.

The first weekend storm moved into Santa Barbara County on Friday night, bringing with it a cold front and 12 hours of nearly steady showers on the South Coast. That storm produced more than an inch of rain in the mountains above Santa Barbara and more than 2 inches west of Goleta.

A tractor-trailer hauling vegetables overturned about 5 a.m. Saturday on rain-slicked southbound Highway 101, just south of Evans Avenue in Summerland. The California Highway Patrol directed traffic around the wreck on the right shoulder before closing the southbound freeway at 7:30 a.m. so the rig could be righted. The accident took several hours to clear and the CHP reopened the southbound lanes just before 2 p.m. There were no serious injuries in the accident, which remains under investigation.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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