Weekend storm batters Central Coast, brings much-needed rain

Mar 3, 2014

One of three boats that washed ashore at Goleta Beach this weekend.
Credit SBC Fire Department Facebook

A pair of storm systems brought several inches of much-needed rain to the Central Coast over the past several days. The mid-winter punch provided some measurable relief to the region's exceptional drought status, yet much more is needed.

Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties saw the largest Central Coast rainfall totals, with some mountain areas receiving more than 14 inches of precipitation since Wednesday. Ojai topped the local cities with 6.21 inches recorded.

Farther north, the City of San Luis Obispo saw 4.09 inches, while county wide anywhere from three to six inches were recorded during the same Wednesday through Sunday period, according to information provided by the National Weather Service office located in Oxnard.

While many parts of the Central Coast are rejoicing from the large rain totals, some areas only saw a little more than a couple of inches. Santa Maria's official total is 2.24 inches, while Paso Robles received 2.48.

Strong winds combined with heavy surf caused widespread damage along coastal regions over the weekend. One of the most dramatic moments was captured on video at Moby Dick restaurant on Stearns Wharf.  An exceptionally large wave smashed through a window as people were dining.

Jill Freeland,whose family's video has gone somewhat viral, can be heard in the background saying "time to go."

"I think the video makes it more dramatic," said Freeland regarding her take on the atmosphere at the restaurant before, during and after the window breach. Freeland says they've laughed about what happened with others involved. Moby Dick restaurant is open for business, with just the area involved currently closed.

Just up the coast in Goleta, Beachside Bar Cafe was forced to close however, as the surf overtook the property on Saturday. It remains closed on Monday.

"We've lost several glass windows in the patio area and have to replace the restaurant's carpet because of water damage," said manager Peter Crick. "We hope to be open with limited service by tomorrow night, we just need the okay from the parks department."

The restaurant sits within Goleta Beach Park, where heavy equipment is cleaning up a lot of sand and debris. The Goleta Beach Pier is also closed, as it sustained storm damage too.

In San Luis Obispo County, boards along the Avila Beach Pier were pushed up by heavy surf. The Port San Luis Harbor District says it will assess damage this week and hopes to have the pier reopened by Friday.