Rain plus low temperatures added up to snow in 2019 at the San Marcos Pass, pictured here. The Santa Barbara mountains should get similar results this week. | Credit: Mike Eliason / S.B. County Fire Dept. (file)

A dusting of snow might decorate the highest peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains on Thursday or Friday after the storm approaching Santa Barbara reaches the county on Wednesday evening. A steady but decreasing amount of rainfall is expected through Saturday, said meteorologist Mark Jackson with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. An inch or two is expected along the coast, and up to four inches in the foothills.

Jackson said the rainfall was forecast to be less than the threshold for debris flows, maybe a half inch per hour at most for this storm, and that the rate of rain was not expected to affect the Alisal Fire burn area. However, some flooding in the urban cityscape could take place during the storm’s peak tonight through Thursday.

The last rainstorm to hit downtown, which was last Tuesday, took out the power for nearly the entire day in some places, affecting 4,790 customers, said SoCal Edison spokesperson Reggie Kumar. The Santa Barbara Police Department, as well as this newspaper, were among those affected by the outages downtown. Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale, police spokesperson, said the dispatch center was unaffected and that backup generators kept essential offices such as those of the watch commander and command staff fully operational during the blackout. “This is one reason it’s important to build a new police station,” he said, explaining the need for modern technology and an upgrade to the backup generator, which dates to the 1950s and is powered by a tank of diesel fuel in the basement the size of a Volkswagen van.

Also affected by the outage on December 14 were another 3,080 customers in the foothills region area that morning. Kumar advised having an outage plan that included a battery-operated radio and flashlights.

In addition, the power surges that accompany such electrical problems can affect equipment plugged into the grid. Kumar said claims can be submitted with supporting documentation at sce.com/claims if any customer’s equipment gets fried.

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