Paul Wellman

Santa Barbara Region Remains in ‘Severe’ Drought Despite Significant Rainfall

Downtown Santa Barbara Rain Total Is 58 Percent of Normal

Last week’s storm dropped a fraction more than six inches of rain in the upper reaches of Romero Canyon and just shy of four inches on the central neighborhoods of Montecito, bringing much-needed hydration to the burned-out mountainsides without triggering significant flooding or debris flows. The storm did cause erosion along State Route 192 east of Toro Canyon Road, forcing Caltrans to close both lanes until early April. Despite the long, steady rain, the region remains in “severe” drought condition, according to Kelly Dyer, Santa Barbara’s water supply manager. So far this rainy season, downtown is at about 10 inches — 58 percent of normal — and the three-month forecast is predicting below-normal rainfall. The good news, Dyer added, is the city just received a $10 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources toward capital needs for its desalination system.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.