Ventura

The last in a series of punishing storms across the state soaked Southern California Monday, causing minor rockfalls, flooding and slippery roads.

The low-pressure system pummeled Northern California over the weekend, breaking rainfall records and triggering mud and debris flows in areas recently scorched by wildfires. By Monday, the storm lingered up near San Luis Obispo before moving fairly quickly as it headed farther south.

In Ventura County, rain totals ranged from a half-inch along the coast to more than 2 inches up above Ojai, said John Dumas, a meteorologist in the Oxnard office of the National Weather Service.

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That was good news for a region in the midst of severe drought but caused concerns of flooding in some areas, including those near the Alisal Fire burn scar in Santa Barbara County. 

Drivers reported slippery roads and rocks falling onto the Pacific Coast Highway as the heaviest rainfall reached Ventura County shortly before noon. The Ventura County Fire Department urged drivers to slow down, citing an uptick in traffic crashes. 

By early afternoon, much of the rain had tapered off as the front moved south into Los Angeles County, Dumas said. Showers continued to fall in the area, and some heavier rain could return along the northern edge of the county Monday night, he said.

Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oxnard, Santa Paula and Thousand Oaks recorded from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain by 3 p.m., according to preliminary figures from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District. Ojai had received more than an inch of rain.

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At 1055 am, band of heavy rain with strong wind gusts to 40 mph approaching the Ventura county coast, and will be impacting Ventura, Oxnard, and Port Hueneme by 1105 am. . Expect brief heavy downpours, capable of roadway flooding. #LArain #LAWeather #cawx pic.twitter.com/2FguCtSkJF

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 25, 2021

October may be the start of the region's rainy season, but Monday's storm was far from typical. On average, the area records less than a half-inch of rain the entire month.

Climatologist William Patzert called the storm a bit of a reprieve from a long-term drought and the first significant rainfall in the area for more than seven months. 

He cautioned against thinking of one storm as a drought buster.

“We’ve been in a large-scale, long-term drought in the American West for almost 22 years,” said Patzert, retired from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “It took us a long time to get into this punishing drought, and we’re going to crawl out of it very slowly.”

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The early, intense storms, however, likely would signal the end of a severe wildfire season in Northern California. The rain also would at least dampen the Santa Ana fire season in the southern parts of the state.

Southern California still has around 2½ months of potentially windy, dry Santa Ana conditions ahead. After Monday’s rain, the forecast called for a high-pressure system to bring warmer, drier conditions the rest of the week. 

Last year, the area got some early rainfall before conditions turned dry. Ventura County wrapped up the 2020-21 water year with record low rainfall totals.

“So don’t get your hopes up,” Patzert said. “This is not necessarily a preview of coming attractions for the remainder of the winter.”

Cheri Carlson covers the environment for the Ventura County Star. Reach her at [email protected] or 805-437-0260.

Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/10/25/california-storm-soaks-ventura-county-rockfalls-slick-roads-weather-right-now-tomorrow-wet-wild/6144060001/

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