Santa Barbara County residents should brace themselves for a large storm expected to hit tonight, packed with gale force winds, heavy rain and high surf.
The National Weather Service has issued a warning for high winds and surf lasting from Thursday night through Friday night. Winds of 25 to 35 knots are predicted, with local gusts of up to 45 knots. The weather service has also announced a chance of thunderstorms, possibly with hail, wind gusts up to 50 knots and isolated waterspouts.
Joe Sirard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Oxnard, said this storm is likely to be the most serious of the season.
“This looks like it’s going to be a really big storm,” Sirard said. “We’ll be issuing high surf and wind advisories. There’s a definite potential for coastal flooding.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures throughout the weekend will be in the 40s and 50s. Rainfall levels will be one to two inches in the coastal and valley areas and two to five inches in the mountains, with one to three feet of snow expected above 5,000 feet. Because the ground is still saturated from the last shower, the weather service warns flooding could occur quickly.
Along with the storm, there will be a 10- to 12-foot ocean swell from the west. The swell is expected to bring high surf to west-facing beaches from San Luis Obispo County to Los Angeles County. The tides are expected to be especially high on both Friday and Saturday mornings, increasing the potential for coastal flooding.
“The west-facing beaches will be hit pretty hard,” Sirard said. “This one’s going to be big.”