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A huge storm is set to intensify with numerous warnings and evacuations in place

Cambria rain
Posted at 3:25 PM, Jan 04, 2023

The storm we have been talking about for more than a week is here. Lighter rain is already falling and winds have cranked up to warning levels. Heavier rain will fall later this evening into the early hours of Thursday morning.

High rain rates up to 1.25"/Hr. is possible. Thunderstorms are possible. and up to 10" of rain could fall in parts of the Santa Barbara County Mountains.

Evacuation orders were issued this afternoon for folks living in the Thomas Fire Burn Scar area as well as the Alisal Fire Burn Scar and also the Cave Fire Burn Scar. This is due to saturation already in place along with the forecast: debris flow is possible with the current forecast.

A high wind warning is in place into Thursday morning for SE-S winds 20-40 with gusts to 60mph. This could cause some utility issues along with the potential for trees to fall.

All that wind energy will increase wave heights. Already there is a surf advisory but by Thursday morning a high surf warning kicks into place for 16-22ft waves. Along with high tide, there is also a coastal flood advisory for surge which could cause some minor coastal flooding.

Thunderstorms are possible today and tonight and also on Thursday. Thunderstorms introduce the potential for brief but locally high rainfall rates, strong winds, hail, and lightning.

The main concern is for the Southcoast area from 12a to about 3a when the frontal boundary moves thru. That boundary moves thru SLO County earlier from about 8p-12a. This is a slight slowing of the frontal arrival from earlier forecasts. But, while slower, the intensity of the storm is not changed, if anything it is higher.

This is an atmospheric river event. Even after this storm eases Thursday morning, showers and isolated thunderstorms are possible on and off all day. Friday and Saturday look like a break in the forecast with more rain Sunday thru Tuesday.