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Strong Winds, Beach Hazards Forecast for Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County South Coast residents will be faced with an increased risk of big waves at the beaches and gusty winds Wednesday, as well as temperatures reaching in the low- to mid-70s through Friday. 

The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard statement for the South Coast areas from Wednesday morning through late Wednesday night.

A high surf advisory was prompted by 3-to-5-foot surf, which could cause strong rip currents and minor tidal overflow.

“Water could be pulled over harbor areas or normally dry sand on the beach,” said Robbie Munroe, a meteorologist at National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Strong rip currents and big waves can create hazardous swimming conditions along west-facing beaches, Munroe said.

“Be cautious and stay away from rocks,” Munroe said. “An unexpected large wave could sweep you and pull you into the water. Swim parallel from the shoreline if you get caught in a rip current. Don’t try to fight the current because it will bring you out.”

Powerful, gusty winds are headed to areas in Santa Barbara County Tuesday night through Thursday morning.

Brisk north winds with gusts as high as 35 mph are expected Tuesday night, Munroe said.

“Be prepared if there’s any power outages and have flashlights handy,” Munroe said. “Be careful if you’re on the road, especially if you are driving a high-profile vehicle.”

The strongest winds Tuesday are expected to spread into parts of Santa Ynez Range, especially west of Goleta.

Highway 101, 154 and 192 are roadways that could be affected, specifically near Gaviota, San Marcos Pass and below the hills of Montecito, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory warning will be in force until 10 a.m. Thursday in the County, including the cities of Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, San Marcos Pass, San Rafael Wilderness Area, Dick Smith Wilderness Area as well as mountain areas.

Winds could top 60 mph Wednesday, with the strongest felt below canyons and passes.

“These winds will be more widespread compared to the typical sun downer winds,” Munroe said. “We will see gusty winds beyond the typical areas.” 

Wednesday and Thursday’s forecast calls for temperature for the South Coast in the low- to mid-70s, he said.

“It may be a little bit cooler at the beach,” Munroe said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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