An intense new Pacific storm blew into Southern California late Sunday with a threat of high wind in the desert, heavy snowfall in the mountains, thunderous surf along the coast--and new mud slides and flooding in the burned-over hills of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The National Weather Service said the worst should be over by this afternoon.
But clouds and showers were expected for the rest of the week.
Flash-flood watches were in effect late Sunday for eastern Santa Barbara and western Ventura counties, where last summer's brush fires stripped soil-holding vegetation from thousands of acres. The soil was already saturated from the nearly two inches of rain that fell there Saturday, and the weather service said another inch or two could fall before dawn.
The Sheriff's Departments in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties said they are ready to aid with evacuations if necessary.
Two to four inches of moisture were expected in Southern California's mountains, but meteorologists said it would fall in the form of snow anywhere above 5,500 feet--which might be good news for ski resorts that have been long on rain and short on snow for most of this winter season.
The wind forecasts were bad news for everyone, though. Forecasters said the northern mountains and deserts can expect south to southwest winds gusting to 40 or 45 m.p.h. overnight and this morning, shifting west and dying away to a mere 30 m.p.h. through Tuesday. Camper and trailer travel was not advised.