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Weekend storm is welcome news, with locals hoping for much more

National Weather Service

Rain showers are expected to hit the Central Coast Friday and continue through the weekend. Totals will vary greatly throughout the area with most of the rain falling to the north, possibly up to three inches.

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties can expect steady rain over the next few days said Joe Sirard, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard. He said that urban runoff and minor flooding will be possible, mainly on Saturday. 

"We may get some rain rates of 15 hundred to three tenths of an inch per hour and that could cause ponding of water on the roadways and minor urban flooding on the poor drainage areas," Sirard said.

While the rainfall in any amount is welcomed change after one of the driest Januarys on record, a lot more is needed. Matt Naftaly, Water Agency Manager at Santa Barbara County Public Works, described the rain in December and the upcoming storm as "blips" in terms of what the county needs. 

"A significant threshold, in terms of water supply, is when we begin to get runoff into the reservoirs," Naftaly said. "The water shed has been so dry that we haven't seen any runoff yet and it would require quit a bit more rainfall to get to that point where were seeing runoff."

He said that he's seen a significant reduction in water usage throughout the county and that it's more important to conserve water now that ever before.