Santa Barbara County Receives Nearly 12 Inches of Rain in Three-Day Period

Bella Vista Drive in Montecito during the on February 18, 2024 (Photo: SBC Public Works)

In the past three days, Santa Barbara County has seen a significant amount of rainfall, according to data from the National Weather Service (NWS). As of 2:00 p.m. on February 20, several locations within the county have reported impressive rainfall totals that highlight the impact of the recent weather system.

Leading the list is the KTYD Tower, which recorded 11.60 inches of rainfall during this period. Not far behind, San Marcos Pass measured 10.94 inches, while El Deseo received 10.18 inches of rainfall. Other areas that experienced substantial precipitation include the Doulton Tunnel with 9.71 inches, Upper Romero with 9.63 inches, and Tecolote Canyon with 8.83 inches. Cold Springs, despite slightly lower totals, still reported a notable 8.49 inches of rainfall.

These significant rainfall measurements are a testament to the intensity of the recent weather system that has passed through Santa Barbara County. The heavy precipitation brings both benefits and challenges to the region, as it contributes to groundwater replenishment and helps alleviate drought conditions. However, it can also lead to localized flooding, road closures, the potential for mudslides, and overall dangerous conditions.

Montecito Creek on February 18, 2024 (Photo: Montecito Fire Department)

There have been three reported deaths found in local creeks this week alone. On Tuesday the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced 86-year-old Peter Knudsen Miller was discovered near his vehicle at the Maria Ygnacia Creek crossing. Miller was reported missing and at-risk on Monday.

On Monday morning, the body of an unidentified woman was found in Mission Creek near the intersection of Bath and Cota Streets. Authorities do not suspect foul play. Additionally on February 14, the Sheriff’s Office discovered the body of 54-year-old Shane Craig Bandy of Carpinteria in Toro Creek. The investigation is ongoing but authorities do not suspect foul play.

Evacuation warnings were issued this past Saturday for various areas around the county, including properties along waterways associated recent burn areas, creeks, and areas prone to frequent flooding. The majority of these warnings were cancelled on Tuesday afternoon.

While authorities have yet to officially confirm if rising creek levels played a role in the three deaths, public agencies continue to warn of the risks being near waterways during storms.

“As a reminder, please stay away from flooded creeks and waterways. Though they may be interesting to look at, always keep a safe distance. Your safety is our top priority,” said Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale regarding the Mission Creek death investigation.

NWS predicts more rain is on the way for the area, although it won’t be as strong of a storm.  Authorities caution that it’s still important to note that this rain comes in addition to what has already been received and will add to already flowing creeks and rivers along with saturated soils.

Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant, as the county still has the potential for flooding, as well as coastal impacts.

Details (thru Wed 2/21): Additional Rain: 0.25-1.00 inches with 0.5-2.0 inches in hills (widely variable totals due to thunderstorms) Peak Rain Rates: 0.1-0.25 in/hr (Isolated 0.5-1.0 in/hr) Confidence: Moderate. Totals (+/- 0.5 in). Timing (+/- 3 hrs).

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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