State Street Christmas tree
The State Street Christmas tree glistens in the rain as Sunday night’s storm rolled through downtown Santa Barbara. (Amy Beth Katz photo)

A severe thunderstorm was reported over the Santa Barbara Channel late Wednesday, and the National Weather Service said it was powerful enough to produce a tornado.

After radar detected rotation in the cell, the weather service issued a tornado warning for Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and eastern Santa Barbara as the storm moved north at 45 mph.

The warning was canceled at 10:30 p.m., however, with no activity reported.

Heavy rain falling on the Central Coast already had prompted the weather service to issue a flood advisory for Santa Barbara County through 11 p.m. Wednesday, while a wind advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Thursday, with winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph.

“The expected rainfall may trigger shallow mud and debris flows, minor rock falls, and flooding capable of localized damage, especially in steep terrain near burn scars,” the flood advisory said.

“Avoid recent burn areas, low-lying areas, areas with standing water, and areas near creeks or streams.”

Drivers should turn around when encountering flooded roads and remain alert to changing conditions, according to the advisory.

The Central Coast’s Christmas night traffic on Highway 101 encountered water ponding on the roadway as the rain soaked the area, with many drivers slowing down due to the conditions.

Shortly after 7 p.m., personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol were dispatched to a report of a vehicle that spun out and then slid off southbound Highway 101 at Old Coast Highway near the Nojoqui Grade.

The vehicle ended up 100 feet down a ravine near the highway, according to CHP dispatch reports.

One lane was blocked as emergency crews worked at the scene. There was no immediate information on the vehicle’s occupants.

Flooded streets were reported around Santa Barbara on Wednesday night at the heavy rain moved through the area.

Highway 154 had mud, rocks and debris in the westbound lane near San Marcos Road, the CHP said.

North of Guadalupe, Highway 1 had several flooded areas, according to the CHP. The highway was closed between Guadalupe and Division Road.

Some of highest rainfall totals for the 24-hour period that ended at 10 p.m. Wednesday were 2.15 inches at La Cumbre Peak, 2.08 inches at Gibraltar Reservoir above Montecito, 1.89 inches at Alisal Reservoir on Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort near Solvang, 1.71 inches in Upper Romero Canyon above Montecito, 1.68 inches in Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta, 1.66 inches at Cater Reservoir in the San Roque foothills above Santa Barbara and 1.63 inches at Lake Cachuma.

A separate marine advisory was issued for the Santa Barbara Channel, where waterspouts, wind gusts to 40 knots and small hail were expected from Point Conception south to Point Mugu.

Rainy weather is expected to continue through 10 p.m. Wednesday with a chance of showers expected through early Thursday, according to the weather service forecast.

Breezy conditions also will continue with some gusts as high at 50 mph.

On Thursday, the forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of showers before 10 a.m. Cloudy conditions will lead to mostly sunny skies and windy weather, with high temperatures near 60.

Additionally, the storm could deliver between 2 and 4 inches of snow in the Cuyama Valley, with snow also expected down to the 2,500-foot elevation, according to the weather service.

» Click here for the latest Santa Barbara area forecast from the National Weather Service.

» Click here for Santa Barbara County real-time rainfall totals.

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Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at