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Steady rain helps ease drought crisis, but causes other problems

A steady rain on the San Marcos Pass and coastal foothills has been welcomed over the past few weeks off and on, but it is not enough to get the area out of the drought. A string of powerful storms will be the most effective answer.

The rain this week has been light and enough to start the saturation process.

But overall, the area needs 10-15 inches of rain to soak the parched hills, followed by another 10 inches to get the runoff that will start to bring lake levels back up.

For drivers who have not been on wet roads in awhile, there have been multiple issues. In the last few days there have been about three crashes off the roadway in the area of the Gaviota curve.

This morning multiple vehicles were involved in an accident on Highway 154 about three miles up from Cathedral Oaks above Goleta. One SUV was precariously over the guardrail at the edge of a cliff. Six people were involved and there were minor injuries.

CHP officer Steve Reid said on the scene, ” the message we want to get out to drivers is watch your speed, give yourself a little extra time and slow down. Make sure you have your headlights on and take your time.”

The asphalt cracked and water gushed where a main line broke on Cieneguitas and Foothill about 7:30 a.m. That led a closure and a big repair job. It’s unknown how much water was lost in the break.

Nearby at Tucker’s Grove in Goleta, despite the rain, the drainage areas were mainly dry and the water was just soaking into the ground.

At the waterfront a sand berm has been built up in front of the Santa Barbara Yacht club and the often aggressive and higher King Tides return early next week.

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