Driving Rain

On the road to check out the rain filling up the Santa Ynez River

Driving Rain

The strongest storm in seven years blew through Santa Barbara last weekend bringing the essential liquid needed for survival in this desert we call home. I haven’t seen rain like this since I moved from Texas over 10 years ago.

So, my husband and I decided to hop in the car and take a road trip in the rain up the “101” north to the heart of the Santa Ynez watershed near Buellton and Solvang. On the way, driving past El Capitan campgrounds we saw the devastation from the mud slides just a couple of days earlier brought on by the confluence of torrential rains and the burned out mountainsides created by the Sherpa Fire. A number of Highway Patrol were stationed along the roadside, possibly as reminders of the dangers lurking ahead with the blustery winds sweeping parallel across the winding highway.

As we neared Solvang the sun peeked out and the rain slowed to a sprinkle. It was amazing to see the Santa Ynez river flowing with the liquid life from heavens’ rain.

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The storms did create some damage, but more significantly, it filled our dams (Gibraltar Dam full for the first time in years!) which spill into the Santa Ynez river and in turn recharges our main water source of Cachuma Lake.

I am hopeful we have two or three more rainy winters ahead as that is what is needed in order for us to come through our "exceptional drought."

‍Water officials are expected to urge the public to be careful with their water use and not to interpret the recent rain as an end to the drought that has gripped the area for more than five years.                   
— John Palminteri, KEYT News, January 24, 2017