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Heavy rain Tuesday doesn’t make up for the months of drought

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The powerful bursts of rain Tuesday, at times, swamping streets  on the Central Coast, has not changed water supply issues.

The level at Cachuma Lake is about 32 percent of capacity today, from where it was last week.

Several storms in a row, with significant saturation will begin a runoff and move that number back up.  For now, it isn't enough rain, only the beginning.

The totals include 3.19 inches on San Marcos Pass, 1.33 inches in Santa Ynez and 1.42 inches in downtown Santa Barbara.
At the peak of the rain Tuesday, parklets were overrun by rain in downtown Santa Barbara.
Some came apart and moved down the street.

Others diverted water into the main section of the street or over the curbs.

The City of Santa Barbara has been concerned about the parklets and the storm water runoff and this was a test of that issue.   

The downtown area, in intense rain, those structures did not handle it well.

The city is requiring storm runoff modifications by December.

Dylan Wylde with Wylde Works, says he will be making an "18-inch channel, (and) cover it up with a piece of sheet metal and that's what we're doing."

He values the outside seating area.

"It's amazing we have people coming in and enjoying the outdoors of Santa Barbara it's wonderful .  It's going to make State Street come back.  It's already making State Street come back," said Wylde.

Other areas including the Funk Zone were swamped on streets including Anacapa and Yanonali.

The Riviera had "rivers" of water coming down according to residents. Mud clogged drains and that brought out the Santa Barbara Public Works crews, but traffic was still able to get through.

Debris clean up with heavy equipment began while the rain was still failing Tuesday afternoon. One effort was to clear out clogged drains, and related pipes.

At East Beach two boats came ashore and a third was out of control in the storm, but the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol was on the scene and got a rope on it for a tow into the harbor.

Wednesday afternoon one of the boats was still wedged on the rocks under the cemetery.

A couple of homeless camps were in the area too. The environmental group Heal the Ocean has been to the area several times to clean up camps that could get washed out. They are asking the County of Santa Barbara and the City of Santa Barbara to post signs to ban camping in the area. That will allow a strong form of enforcement.

In the early morning hours, and intense hail storm formed in downtown and on the Mesa, hitting so hard, many residents work up and went outside to see pea sized pellets on the ground. Some took photos and posted to social media.

Below TV hill where the Loma Fire burned,  k-rail barriers are in place in case there's some mud or debris flows.

The stretch of Loma Alta is closed off until next  year for safety.

Two days ago,  the bird refuge was showing its bare shores, but this rain has brought it up a few inches.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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