Friday, August 17 , 2018, 12:39 pm | A Few Clouds 76º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Sunday Storm Not as Powerful as Expected But Still Makes Presence Felt

Downed trees and power outages reported as weather system moves across Santa Barbara County; Isla Vista apartments evacuated after cliff collapse

Sycamore Canyon Road in Montecito was blocked by a downed tree and utility lines Sunday, prompting a road closure in the area west of Cold Spring School. Click to view larger
Sycamore Canyon Road in Montecito was blocked by a downed tree and utility lines Sunday, prompting a road closure in the area west of Cold Spring School. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk gallery of storm photos.]

The Sunday storm that experts said could be the strongest one to hit Santa Barbara County in years packed less of a punch than expected, with moderate rainfall and windy conditions.

As of 6 p.m., some county areas had received well over 2 inches of rain in the previous 24-hour period — at the lower end of the 2-4 inches that were forecast.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch that was to remain in effect until 6 p.m. Monday, and the entire coastline was under a high surf advisory through Tuesday night.

Emergency crews responded to the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista around 5 p.m. after a cliff collapse and partial patio collapse on the ocean side of a rental apartment complex in the dense neighborhood adjacent to UC Santa Barbara.

As many as 20 residents were evacuated from the complex pending an inspection by county building officials.

Refugio Pass, above the Sherpa Fire burn area, recorded 1.97 inches of rain from the storm, and the county had an evacuation warning in place for the burn area, which includes El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitán and Refugio state beaches, Refugio Canyon, Cañada Venadito Canyon, Cañada del Coral Canyon and Las Flores Canyon.

Gibraltar Reservoir, in the Rey Fire burn area along the upper Santa Ynez River, logged 2.46 inches of rain.

A partial cliff and patio collapse behind an Isla Vista apartment complex led to evacuations Sunday night. Click to view larger
A partial cliff and patio collapse behind an Isla Vista apartment complex led to evacuations Sunday night. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Along the South Coast, Santa Barbara and Goleta recorded 1.57 inches and Carpinteria got an inch.

Solvang recorded 0.82 inches of rain, Orcutt 0.74 inches, Lompoc 0.69 inches and Santa Maria 0.40 inches.

“We’re still seeing numbers close to what was predicted, but the intensities have not been quite as strong,” said Curt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Shortly before midday, Kaplan said Santa Barbara County could expect another two to three hours of steady rain and then a break in the weather as the bulk of the storm moves east.

However, behind the storm is a colder, less-stable air mass that will bring showery conditions and a chance of thunderstorms into Tuesday.

In Santa Barbara’s San Roque neighborhood, police and firefighters responded in the early afternoon to Stevens Park after two boys were reported missing. The boys, ages 9 and 8, were found safe after a search, with their parents assisting authorities.

El Capitan, Refugio and other creeks in canyons along the Gaviota coast were running strong, and crews were out trying to keep the heavy debris flows from causing backups and other problems.

The Santa Ynez River flows through the Los Prietos recreation area Sunday afternoon. Click to view larger
The Santa Ynez River flows through the Los Prietos recreation area Sunday afternoon. (Ray Ford / Noozhawk photo)

Refugio Road was closed from a half-mile south of the Santa Ynez River bridge to the south end as of 10 a.m. Sunday due to flooding, the county Public Works Department said.

Crews shut down a section of Sycamore Canyon Road in Montecito due to downed trees and power lines, according to the California Highway Patrol. The road reportedly was closed between Barker Pass Road, west of Cold Spring School, and Coyote Drive, and may be closed until Monday.

Highway 166 was closed in both directions between Santa Maria and Guadalupe during the morning because of downed power lines, according to Caltrans.

Dominion Road east of Orcutt was shut down from Clark Avenue to Foxen Canyon Road due to problems with utility lines. Similar problems were reported in the Guadalupe area.

Trees were reported down all over the county, some bringing down power lines or blocking roads. One tree fell on a Santa Barbara house, prompting responders to evacuate the residents.

Southern California Edison and PG&E warned customers of the potential for power outages as the heavy rain and wind hit the region.

Crews work to clear debris from Refugio Road on Sunday morning and closed it to vehicles. Click to view larger
Crews work to clear debris from Refugio Road on Sunday morning and closed it to vehicles. (Ray Ford / Noozhawk photo)

Hundreds of PG&E customers in the North County, Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley were without power Sunday morning, according to the PG&E Outage Map.

As of 12:20 p.m., Santa Maria outages affected 1,937 customers, Orcutt outages affected 372 customers, Santa Ynez outages affected 357 customers and outages in Lompoc affected 130 customers.

By Sunday afternoon, more than 1,000 Santa Barbara customers were without power due to equipment being hit by trees, according to the the SCE Outage Map.

Forecasters were predicting the storm could drop 2 to 4 inches in coastal areas and up to 6 inches in the mountains, which experts say would likely cause rock and mud slides and flooding, especially near areas scorched by last year’s wildfires.

That potential was on vivid display Friday, when a flash flood heavily damaged the El Capitan Canyon camping resort west of Goleta — destroying five cabins, severely damaging many others and wrecking nearly two dozen vehicles.

The heavy rain could bring drought relief to the region and as of Sunday morning, the county had received an average of 154 percent of normal rainfall since Sept. 1. Local reservoirs started getting runoff from recent storms and could get a good deal more from the current storm.

As of Sunday night, Gibraltar Reservoir was at 57.6 percent of capacity, Montecito’s Jameson Reservoir was at 10.8 percent of capacity, and Santa Maria’s Twitchell Reservoir was at 4.4 percent of capacity.

Lake Cachuma, the major surface water supply for South Coast water agencies, was at 10.5 percent capacity.

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Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli was assisted with reporting from executive editor Tom Bolton. Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Bolton at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Heavy surf and high tides washed away about 15 feet of sand at Goleta Beach Park, exposing the line of protective boulders. Click to view larger
Heavy surf and high tides washed away about 15 feet of sand at Goleta Beach Park, exposing the line of protective boulders. (Ray Ford / Noozhawk photo)

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