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It's (potentially) big! A storm could bring 2-4" of rain to the Central and South Coasts

The storm could bring street flooding to parts of the Tri-Counties.
The storm could bring street flooding to parts of the Tri-Counties.

The mountains could get 4-8", with up to 10" in isolated areas.

The preshow is over. Now, a major storm is on track to bring heavy rainfall to the Central and South Coasts.

"It's a cutoff low off the northern California coast, working it way down," said Rich Thompson, who is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The low pressure system coming down the West Coast is expected to mix with Pacific moisture. The low will shoot the moisture our way, creating the potential for heavy rainfall.

"The low that's coming down the coast is definitely interacting with some pretty good subtropical moisture, and that's what's going to give it some juice to give us significant rainfall," said Thompson.

It’s shaping up to be the biggest storm of the season. 2-4” of rain is predicted for coastal and inland areas. We could see 4-8” of rain in the foothills, and mountains. There could be isolated mountain areas which even top 10” of rain. The heaviest rain is expected Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Public safety and public works officials in the region are on the alert for potential mudslides, and street flooding. Of special concern in Ventura County is South Mountain, where 2700 acres of land burned less than two weeks ago.

"It (the burn scar) goes down both sides of the mountain," said Jeff Pratt, who is Director of Ventura County’s Public Works Agency. He said there are a few areas around the mountain where there could be issues if there is heavy rain.

In Santa Barbara County, crews will be watching a number of creeks from Montecito to Carpinteria. But, it’s been six years since the Thomas Fire, and the landscape has largely recovered. There have also been some major flood control projects since the deadly 2018 Montecito debris flow.

How much rain we get depends on the low pressure system that’s at the heart of it. Cutoff lows can be hard to track.

But, there is some good news. The rain could put a dent in wildfire concerns for the region for at least a few weeks. And, when we get into the holiday weekend, the storm is expected to clear. Thompson said the bulk of the rain will be Wednesday night into Thursday. He said after some lingering rain Friday, it should be dry Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.