Otherworldly clouds above the Santa Barbara Channel as a storm moves in on Wednesday.
Otherworldly clouds above the Santa Barbara Channel as a storm moves in on Wednesday. They are called asperitas clouds, and are known for their dramatic wave-like appearance on the undersides. The name translates approximately as 'roughness.' Credit: Mike Eliason photo

Light rain was falling across Santa Barbara County Wednesday afternoon, kicking off several days of wet weather for the region.

Most areas had received only a few hundredths of an inch of rain as of 5 p.m.

National Weather Service forecasters were predicting rainfall amounts of a tenth to a quarter of an inch on Wednesday, with the same amount Wednesday night. Similar amounts were expected Thursday and Thursday night.

Friday’s forecast was calling for up to a half inch of rain, with showers continuing through Sunday morning. There is a chance of thunderstorms Friday night.

A Wind Advisory was issued for some South Coast and foothills areas, in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday. Southwest winds of 20-30 mph are predicted, with gusts to 45 mph.

Gusty winds in the Santa Maria Valley brought down power lines, sparking small spot fires at multiple locations, according to Capt. Scott Safechuck of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

In one incident, a trampoline was blown into overhead lines, Safechuck said.

A Beach Hazards Statement also was issued, in effect until late Wednesday night. The statement warns of “dangerous rip currents, breaking waves, and minor coastal flooding due to elevated surf” on south-facing beaches.

Daytime highs should be in the mid- to upper-60s, with overnight lows around 50.

Sunny skies are expected to return to the region on Sunday.

Warming centers for the unhoused will open from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday, and again from 6 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday, at four locations around the county:

  • Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara.
  • Carpinteria Veterans Hall, 941 Walnut Ave.
  • Events Mission Valley, 138 North B St. in Lompoc.
  • Atkinson Center, 1000 N. Railroad Ave. in Santa Maria.

The warming center hotline number is 805.324.2372.

Click here for the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

Click here for updated rainfall totals from the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

Sunrise at the Santa Barbara Waterfront.
Sunrise at the Santa Barbara Waterfront. (Ray Ford / Noozhawk photo)