Hail covers the ground just off Grand Avenue in Los Olivos.
Hail covers the ground just off Grand Avenue in Los Olivos on Wednesday as the first storm of spring brought widely varied precipitation totals in Santa Barbara County. (Jenae Johnson photo)

Rainfall totals in Santa Barbara County varied widely Wednesday from the storm that ushered in the first day of spring.

The ridge of the Santa Ynez Mountains bore the brunt of the weather system, which began dropping rain Tuesday night and continued with showery conditions on and off throughout the day Wednesday.

The gauge at El Deseo — along Gibraltar Road near East Camino Cielo in the mountains above Montecito — recorded 1.08 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The bulk of that came between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Slightly lower amounts were recorded at the top of San Marcos Pass, in the upper reaches of Tecolote Canyon west of Goleta, and at Alisal Reservoir near Solvang.

Those readings contrasted with 24-hour-totals elsewhere: 0.20 inches in Carpinteria, 0.13 inches in Goleta, 0.09 inches in Santa Barbara and Montecito, and 0.16 inches in Lompoc.

There were reports of hail in some areas, notably Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley.

By late afternoon, the storm had pretty much moved east into Ventura and Los Angeles counties, where thunderstorms and heavy downpours were causing localized flooding.

National Weather Service forecasters were calling for a 20-percent chance of showers Wednesday night, rising to 30-percent for Thursday before 11 a.m.

Sunny skies are expected Friday, with a chance of rain returning Friday night and Saturday.

Daytime highs should be in the mid-60s, with overnight lows in the mid-40s.

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.