Executive Content Editor
In what was hailed as a “violent” rainstorm by Californian meteorologists, Goleta was the place not to be for residents looking to avoid a torrential downpour over the weekend.
Over the last week, the County of Santa Barbara measured over five inches of rain on the University of California, Santa Barbara’s campus. Preliminary data from the National Weather Service on Saturday stated that Santa Barbara Airport broke rainfall records, coming in at 4.16 inches of rain on Friday.
While plants and the local Lake Cachuma reservoir are soaking up the continued moisture, the weekend rainstorm wreaked havoc on parts of campus, Isla Vista, and Santa Barbara County. Some county residents received flash flood warnings on Friday.
Associated Students staff found the entrance to A.S. Main temporarily blocked off early Friday morning after a giant branch fell on the steps leading down to the entrance from UCen Road; the branch was quickly disposed of. A tree fell off a backyard cliff on the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive, causing a resident to evacuate. Previous rain storms eroded a cliff off Del Playa, causing a balcony to fall and 28 residents to evacuate.
Down Highway 217, authorities closed Goleta Pier “out of an abundance of caution” after finding that the structural base of the pier had eroded.
Police and fire crews found themselves busy assisting residents in the county trapped by flooding and owners of cars with unwelcome fallen trees on their windshields. Cars parked in a carport in Goleta were damaged when harsh winds caused a large tree to fall on the Ellwood Drive structure.
On Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara, residents reported that a historic pine tree had toppled over onto parked cars shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday. One percent of fallen trees in the state are in Santa Barbara County, according to the University of California’s Tree Failure Report Program.
Down south, the Northbound 101 closed due to mudslides around in Ventura County near the Seacliff exit. As of Saturday, one Northbound lane had reopened. Amtrak, which runs the Pacific Surfliner train from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, also closed the route between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo due to the threat of mudslides obstructing the tracks.
The Santa Barbara County Flood District’s statistics show that Goleta and Santa Barbara have received 23.19 and 24.18 inches of rain respectively since the water year started in September. This totals approximately 130 percent of the area’s yearly rainfall total, with six more months to go until it ends on Aug. 31.
The rainfall comes as much-needed relief to the Californian drought, but does not entirely solve the problem, according to scientists. Californian farmers have been pumping their supplies from groundwater to make up for water shortages in reservoirs. Prolonged drought has led to more groundwater being pumped, depleting subterranean water levels that could take a long time to refill.