SOLVANG, Calif.— Los Padres National Forest officials are cautioning the public that the incoming storm system could bring potentially hazardous conditions across the southern half of the Forest beginning this weekend through next Tuesday. Visitors planning to picnic, hike, hunt, or camp over the next five days are strongly encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and potentially delay their visit until after Hurricane Hilary has passed through the area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has indicated that a flood watch will go into effect Aug. 20 for portions of the Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara, Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts. Forecasters are predicting anywhere from two to 10 inches of rain in addition to 60 mph winds, even though by the time it reaches Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties the hurricane will likely have been downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the NWS.
“While we welcome visitors to enjoy these amazing public lands, we ask forest users at all times of the year to educate themselves and to be prepared for rapidly changing trail, road, and weather conditions,” said Deputy Forest Supervisor Jeanne Dawson. “Before you travel, know the conditions you could encounter and let someone know where you will be and when you will return.”
Many roads and trails are still impacted by the Winter 2023 atmospheric rain events, and conditions could deteriorate rapidly with more rain and wind. Flash flooding can occur in places where it is sunny overhead, so know the weather forecast and monitor conditions in the surrounding area. Prepare to leave before conditions prevent a safe exit. Depending on your location, it may be better to wait until the storm and flooding pass. For the next few days after the storm, please stay off wet and muddy roads to prevent rutting and resource damage.
Visitors who have made reservations at Los Padres concessionaire-managed campgrounds can inquire about a refund or future reservation through Recreation.gov.
For more information, please visit Los Padres National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.