A rainbow lights up the sky over Santa Barbara.
A rainbow lights up the sky over Santa Barbara earlier this week. Forecasters are calling for rain beginning Christmas morning, with the heaviest downpour Wednesday night into Thursday. (Kim Bish photo)

Looks like Santa Barbara County will have a soggy, soggy Christmas…

That’s the outlook from the National Weather Service in Oxnard, which is expecting light rain and showers beginning Wednesday, Christmas morning, and slowly increasing throughout the day.

“But the evening, maybe a little later, we expect the strongest part of this system to come through,” NWS meteorologist Tom Fisher told Noozhawk.

Rainfall totals in the coastal and valley areas are forecasted to be between ¾ and 1½ inches, while foothill and mountains areas could get as much as 3 inches, Fisher said.

Peak rainfall rates may approach ¾ of an inch per hour, which could lead to localized flooding and possible debris flows below recent wildfire burn areas.

However, as of Tuesday afternoon, no flood advisories or warnings had been issued.

A Winter Storm Watch will be in effect from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon, Fisher said, with areas above 5,000 feet getting 1-2 feet of snow. Areas above 4,000 feet could see 4-8 inches of snow.

Friday should be clear and breezy, with sunny skies expected through the weekend.

The next chance of rain is on Monday, Fisher said.

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 executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.