Late Season Winter Storms
Source: Montecito Fire Department
As promised back in December 2019 at our Community Meeting, the Storm Impact Consideration Team has been closely monitoring storm systems that approach the South Coast all winter. While we have had a long break since our last storm in late December 2019, March 2020 is shaping up to be a wet month. In fact, our first storm of the new year occurred March 10th and 11th and produced 1.29 inches per hour in Romero Canyon. This brings our annual rainfall total in the Montecito area to just under 15 inches.
Immediately following this storm, and all storms this winter, Montecito Fire Department and Santa Barbara Flood Control staff have inspected the watershed and drainage system to determine the impact the storm had on our community. Twenty-four (24) specific points in our community, all debris basins, and the debris nets are inspected after each storm. With the exception of normal nuisance flooding which resulted in the closure of Bella Vista Road at Romero Canyon earlier this week, we are happy to report that our inspections determined that the flood control conveyance system performed as expected. No clogged choke points were identified, debris basins remain empty, and the debris nets have not experienced any impact to date.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting 2-4 inches of rainfall near the coast and 4-6 inches in our South Coast mountains between March 16th and March 23rd. While rainmakers, these two systems are not part of an atmospheric river and not subject to upslope rainfall enhancement which means they will provide much needed rainfall to our community and most likely will not subject the community to debris flow risk. To that end, at this moment we do not anticipate issuing any evacuation warnings or orders during the currently forecast March storms.
Your safety is our first priority. The Storm Impact Consideration Team continues to monitor winter storms and their potential to impact the community.