Santa Barbara- S County

Cleanup underway after powerful storm slams Santa Barbara's waterfront and downtown

Microburst Monday

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A microburst generated from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lydia took an unexpected toll on Santa Barbara on Sunday.

The severe storm toppled trees and power lines, and caused scattered outages.

"In over 30 years in the fire service, this is unique. We've never had anything like this happen," said Captain Steve Berman of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Numerous boats, paddleboards and kayaks overturned in the harbor during the strong, but short-lived thunderstorm where the wind topped out at 80 miles per hour. The fire department said 56 people were tossed into the water. Harbor Patrol and lifeguards came to the rescue of many, while everyday citizens also pitched in to help.

"The one thing that was really impressive was the amount of people coming to the aid of others," Berman said. 

There are reports emerging of people being injured by flying debris and watercraft.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department said firefighters did not transport anyone to the hospital, but the community is lucky more people were not seriously hurt or killed by this weather event.

The thunderstorm also shook up the Funk Zone. Naren Porter-Kasbati, co-owner of the Lighthouse Skate Shop on Helena Avenue, said the weather was sunny and warm. Then all of the sudden, the sky turned dark and it started pouring.

"I just heard like trees breaking, and things falling," he said. "I see a blue recycling bin flying down the street, and corrugated steel flying down the street."

The rain came through the roof of the skate shop, but employees and friends managed to salvage the goods.

"We got everything out of the way and we got super lucky," Porter-Kasbati said.

Porter-Kasbati said this severe thunderstorm was the wake-up call he needed. 

"It has me ready for a natural disaster now," he said. "I'm going to get a bag ready and have water ready and everything just in case something actually really bad happens."


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