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Rain, Wind Pound Santa Barbara


Mother Nature doused Santa Barbara County Thursday night and Friday morning and will continue to do so through Friday, but will take a break for the weekend before bringing more rain Monday and Tuesday. According to the county’s Public Works Department, more than five inches of rain fell at San Marcos Pass, with Goleta, Orcutt, and Santa Maria experiencing totals around three inches. The County Administration building in downtown Santa Barbara netted 2.21 inches. This rainfall has brought the county’s annual totals to 145 percent of normal, according to the county’s Office of Emergency Management, but the effect on the drought has been minimal due to low runoff levels.

Accompanying Thursday’s overnight deluge were rapid wind gusts, which reached 64 miles per hour at the Santa Ynez weather station, according to County Fire. Department spokesperson David Sadecki said that, during a nine-hour period, the County Fire team responded to 78 storm-related calls: 33 downed power lines, five toppled trees, 15 flooding incidents, 15 fire alarms, four structural problems, two fires, two flying debris issues, and one road event. Sadecki said the department added three engines and two overhead positions to its rotation for the storm. No rescues were required. Street flooding affected significant portions of Santa Maria and Isla Vista, and close to 10,000 county residents lost power overnight. Power has been restored to most of those affected.

The National Weather Service said Santa Barbara County residents should expect the rain to fall into Friday evening, with milder winds but small hail possible. High surf — along with consequential beach erosion, pier damage, and rip currents — is also in the forecast, and an advisory is in effect through Saturday afternoon. Sunny skies will come Saturday and and most of Sunday, but the showers predicted for Monday and Tuesday could move in late Sunday night.

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