(Above image, courtesy of the National Weather Service, depicts current conditions.)
With wet, wet weather reportedly on the horizon, citizens are being advised to take the proper precautions through Sunday, January 6. According to weather forecast from Accuweather.com, “a parade of Pacific storms” will replace the dry weather that began 2008, likely drenching the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to the Mexican border. Snow too should be expected, especially in northern and central California. The Accuweather forecast goes as far as to predict that snowstorms in the Sierras to be among the “top 15 snowstorm totals: over the past 50 years.” Blizzard warnings are already in effect for these areas. While the state’s northern regions will bear the brunt of this, those living in Southern California should expect possible flash floods by Saturday, January 5. Accuweather predicts that coastal mountain ranges, south-facing beaches like the ones on Santa Barbara and Ventura and areas burned from the past fire season’s blazes are at the greatest risk of flooding. The National Weather service has also predicted strong winds in the area.
Kathy Good, public affairs officer for Los Padres National Forest, released a statement on January 2 advising anyone who might be trekking into the park to be careful driving and to be on the look out for hazards such as ice, mud, rockslides, washouts and flash floods. Foremost, Santa Barbara residents anticipating a visit should call the Santa Barbara Ranger District at (805) 967-3481 and ask about any road closures. Furthermore, park-goers should obey road signs and refrain from driving through areas with more than six inches of standing water. Good also recommended tire chains, a full tank of gas, properly inflates tires, windshield wipers in working condition.
Lastly, MERRAG (the Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group) has also issued a statement advising citizens of how to handle the oncoming storms if they’re just planning to stay at home. In anticipation of the nasty weather, citizens are urged to clean out their gutters and drains, lower swimming pool levels, store firewood in a dry place, secure outside furniture, and maintain at least a half-tank of gas, as power outages can sometimes disable pumps at fuel stations.
If the power goes out, call Southern California Edison at 1 (800) 611-1911 to report the outage instead of calling 911. Do, however, call 911 to report any downed power lines and stay away from them. MERRAG also reminded citizens that certain appliances one might not immediately think of as being run on electricity - ATM machines, for example - could be out of commission in a long-term power outage and that people should prepare accordingly. If possible, keep a non-electrically powered telephone handy.
Up-to-date storm information will be posted at the National Weather Service’s site. Independent.com will be also be posting information as the storms develop.