Over four inches of rain have fallen on and around Santa Barbara since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, which predicts thunderstorms, hail and potentially an isolated tornado in the upcoming storms this week.
The local forecast – which includes more rain through the weekend – is based on four hazardous weather conditions that the NWS predicts the Santa Barbara area will face this week. The list includes a Flash Flood Watch, a Flood Statement, a Hazardous Weather Outlook, which warns of multiple dangers in the newly snow-capped Santa Ynez Mountains and a Special Weather Statement for the area predicting multiple inches of rain.
The NWS said that it will likely rain through Monday, though thunderstorms should stop some time around Saturday. However, the statement said that the heavy storm system will continue to shower the area with rain.
“Due to increasing instability across the area today and tonight there is a slight chance of thunderstorms across the region … some of which may produce intense rainfall rates up to an inch per hour … small hail … and possibly an isolated tornado,” the statement said. “Across the coastal waters … isolated waterspouts are possible.”
Although no tornado-related incidents were reported yesterday, the roads were still far from safe. The California Highway Patrol said there were numerous collisions in the surrounding area yesterday, including a jackknifed big rig that blocked northbound traffic near Gaviota on Highway 101 in the morning.
However, law enforcement and city officials said they were prepared for the multitude of problems that comes on the heels of heavy storms. University of California Police Dept. spokesman Matt Bowman said the department was out early in the morning, putting up signs for bikers and drivers, warning them about the dangerous conditions.
Santa Barbara County Public Works Dept. spokeswoman Kathy Kefauver said that although the city had some minor flooding and a few burst water mains, its crew worked quickly and were well prepared for the long haul.
“City of Santa Barbara streets crews, with decades of heavy storm-related experience, are prepared and will be on-call during the predicted storms this week,” Kefauver said.
Things were not much nicer in Isla Vista yesterday, with minor flooding on many of the streets, including both entrances to Pardall Road from El Embarcadero and along the sides of El Colegio Road. On the 6700 block of Trigo Road the water on the road was so deep that at one point it flooded a car’s engine, leaving it disabled in the road.
Air conditions were also unfavorable yesterday in several portions of the state. Two flights were rerouted from Santa Barbara Airport to the Los Angeles area due to the foggy and rainy conditions and flights were delayed from San Francisco as well, Assistant Airport Director Hazel Johns said.
Additionally, more of I.V. was lost to the beach yesterday, with minor erosion up and down the bluffs. Scattered clumps of rocks lay at the bottom of the cliffs, dotting the beach that stretches from Manzanita Village all the way down to the 6800 block of Del Playa Drive.