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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 10:23 pm | Fair 48º


Storm Systems Heading Toward Santa Barbara County Not Expected to Bring Much Rain

Chance of rain forecast for mid-week and Sunday; Rapidly-changing storm patterns may drop most rain over the ocean, according to the National Weather Service

Two storm systems are headed toward Santa Barbara County, but the first one forecast for mid-week could bypass the South Coast and drop less than a tenth of an inch in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, according to the National Weather Service.

There is a 30-percent chance of rain forecast for most county areas starting Wednesday, and a 50-percent chance for Santa Maria that night, according to the National Weather Service.  

The second one, forecast to arrive in the area late Sunday or Monday, “has the potential to be a stronger storm,” said Bonnie Bartling, weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “It has the ability to pick up some sub-tropical moisture.”

Most of the storm, arriving Sunday night, will likely fall over the ocean and the question is how much of it will hit land.

“I will believe it when I see it,” Bartling said.

She said the weather models keep changing, and that it is not a very “organized” storm.

“It will be probably be out raining all over the water, but the question is will it get on to land and how far it will it get.”

The good news, Bartling said, is that no one is expecting large rain in a short amount of time, which could potentially cause mudslides and debris flows below recent burn areas including the Thomas Fire.

That huge 281,893-acre blaze, which is still burning in the back country, burned numerous watershed in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and officials are worried about the significant flooding risks when winter rains hit the region. 

Overall, the area is still experiencing La Niña, which typically means drier-than-normal conditions for Southern California, as well as warmer temperatures.

Still, there’s hope for a rainy season this year, Bartling said.

“We still have January, February and March,” she said. “We still have the rainy months to go into. It could just take a couple good storms.”

Temperatures in Santa Barbara County this week are expected to hit the high-60s during the day and drop to the 40s and 50s at night. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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