A chance of rain, with totals expected to be low and lacking any flooding potential, returns to Santa Barbara County starting Sunday as a cold system moves through the area, according to the National Weather Service.
“A dynamic and cold, albeit moisture-starved winter storm will push through the region Sunday and Monday with scattered rain and mountain snow showers. Snow is expected for many mountain passes, possibly impacting travel across the region.”
Rainfall totals should be light, up to one-third of an inch.
High temperatures are expected to be in the 50s with lows in the upper 30s and lower 40s for most areas of the county.
Because of the cold weather, the Freedom Warming Centers will open Sunday and Monday nights from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In the South County, centers are at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara, and at the Veterans Memorial Building, 941 Walnut Ave. in Carpinteria.
A Freedom Warming Center in Santa Maria will be at Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene, 1026 Sierra Madre.
In Lompoc, the center will be at Peace Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Ocean Ave.
A warming center hotline can be reached by calling 805.324.2372.
While rainfall will be light, the cold system is expected to bring a chance of snow to the Santa Barbara County interior mountains with a winter weather advisory in effect from 3 p.m. Sunday to 3 p.m. Monday. It includes Figueroa Mountain and San Rafael Mountain.
Light to moderate snow showers are expected, with anywhere from a dusting to 2 inches of snow possible at 3,000- to 5,000-foot elevations and up to 3 inches above 5,000 feet.
The snowfall forecast coincides with the ongoing 60-day closure of four ranger districts in the Los Padres National Forest — Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara, Ojai and Monterey — because of damage caused by the early January storms.
Public access to Los Padres recreation sites is limited or not possible because of compromised roadways, officials said.
The areas saw debris flows along with bridge, road and trail failures, with reopening estimated for March 14.
Light snow accumulation might cause slippery road conditions and affect traffic on Highway 33 and Interstate 5 at the Grapevine, according to the forecast.
Warmer and drier weather is expected to return by the middle of the week, according to the National Weather Service.