A potential 8 inches of rain is forecast to land on higher elevations in Santa Barbara County, with south-facing coastal hills also in for a massive soaking, advises Tom Fischer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS).
Light rain showers accompany the initial clouds that move in on Thursday, and the heavy stuff — clocking up to one inch per hour at times — is expected with an “atmospheric river” that will unroll a band of subtropical moisture Thursday night through Saturday morning, according to the NWS Hydrologic Outlook.
The slow-moving storm cells are expected to drop 2-4 inches along the coastal plain as well as 4-8 inches in backcountry mountains. Winds accompany this storm, 20-30 mph along coastal plains and foothills, and up to 70 mph gusts in the mountains, said Fischer.
El Capitan, Refugio, and Gaviota state beaches have been vacated and will remain closed to all camping and day-use visitors until further notice due to forecasted heavy rains, winds, and flooding this weekend, according to a spokesperson with the Channel Coast District in Ventura.
A flash flood threat exists until about Saturday afternoon, the NWS announced today, with the largest flood dangers locally affecting areas burned out by the Sherpa and Rey fires. Urban and small creeks will be swollen with water by Monday, with flooding possible. Rock and mudslides are likely, especially on canyon roads.
Currently, up to 25 sandbags can be filled at the County Flood Control Shop at 4568 Calle Real. Up to 20 bags can be filled at the city’s Corporate Annex Yard at 401 East Yanonali Street, which opens its sandbag station through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Information on watches and warnings can be found at the NWS-Los Angeles website.
Temperatures will drop with the rain, with a slight chance of snow at elevations above 6,500 feet on Sunday. The lowest temps are expected in colder valleys and in the mountains but are expected to stay above freezing.