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Santa Barbara Weather: 66.0°F | Humidity: 42% | Pressure: 29.98in (Rising) | Conditions: Partly Cloudy | Wind Direction: SSE | Wind Speed: 1.8mph [see map]

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Stormy Weather
updated: Feb 24, 2014, 1:48 PM

Source: National Weather Service

A dramatic change in the weather is expected the second half of this week as a couple of winter storms are forecast to move across Southwestern California. These two storms will bring significant rainfall and gusty winds.

The first storm is expected to impact the area from late Wednesday through Thursday morning. rain will begin across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties Wednesday afternoon...and will spread south and east into Ventura and Los Angeles counties Wednesday evening before exiting the region by late Thursday morning...with a shower threat lingering over the mountain Thursday afternoon. Rainfall amounts with this weather system are generally expected to be between 0.25 and 0.75 inches...with locally higher amounts up to an inch or more possible in favored upslope areas. Snow levels will remain relatively high...above 7000 feet during the day on Wednesday then dropping to around 6000 feet Wednesday night and Thursday. Along with the precipitation...gusty south to southwest winds are expected.

The second storm will impact the area from late Thursday night through late Saturday night...and will likely be the strongest storm the area has experienced in quite some time. Moderate to heavy rain is expected to move into San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties late Thursday night...then will spread into Ventura and Los Angeles counties by early Friday morning and continue into Friday evening. Widespread shower activity is then likely Friday night through Saturday before tapering to scattered showers Saturday night. This weather system will also be accompanied with an unstable air mass...with a slight chance of thunderstorms expected in all areas Friday then shifting to Ventura and Los Angeles counties Friday night. Any thunderstorms that develop would be capable of producing intense rainfall over a short time period along with possible small hail.

Rainfall amounts with this storm could be very impressive. Early estimates are for 1 to 2 inches for coastal and valley areas with 2 to 4 inches in the foothills and mountains...with even higher amounts possible along south facing slopes. Snow levels on Friday will generally be above 7000 feet...but will drop down to around 5000 feet by Saturday. The mountains could receive significant snowfall and winter storm conditions due to strong and gusty south to southwest winds.

One area of special concern with the second storm will be the potential for mud and debris flows. Given the potential for heavy and intense rainfall...residents in areas near the recent burn areas (including the colby and springs burn areas) will need to stay alert for potential mud and debris flow issues.

Stay tuned to noaa weather radio or local media outlets for the latest information on the upcoming storm systems...including updated forecasts...statements and possible advisories or warnings.


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