California

Mandatory evacuations ordered for parts of Santa Barbara County ahead of major storm

10 images that define the deadly Montecito mudslides

Recovery crews slowly made progress on Sunday, January 14, 2017, digging away masses of mud, boulders and toppled trees in Montecito, the California community that was ravaged by deadly mudslides. Another body was found Sunday, bringing the number
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Recovery crews slowly made progress on Sunday, January 14, 2017, digging away masses of mud, boulders and toppled trees in Montecito, the California community that was ravaged by deadly mudslides. Another body was found Sunday, bringing the number

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office issued storm-related mandatory evacuation orders Thursday for people in South Coast communities below the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fire burn areas, saying people must be out of those areas by 6 p.m.

County officials have been monitoring the storm forecast, and the National Weather Service predicts there is potential for rainfall to hit the 1/2-inch-per-hour threshold that can trigger debris and mud flows.

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Click here for a county map of the evacuation areas (in red) and other storm-related information.

Click here for a map of debris flow risk areas in Santa Barbara County.

The evacuation orders apply to most areas between Montecito and Carpinteria, except Summerland, as well as canyons in western Goleta and the Gaviota Coast impacted by the Sherpa and Whittier fires.

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“The potential for debris flows being triggered is low to moderate,” the county said in a statement announcing the orders. “Waterway flows may be rapid and blockage and overtopping in waterways is expected. Roads may be flooded and impassable. People close to and immediately downstream of choke points may be endangered. It is important that community members understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities.”

A Red Cross evacuation center is open at Earl Warren Showgrounds, at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, and Earl Warren Showgrounds is also accepting large animals.

The Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline is 805-681-4332.

This year's California fire season was especially harsh, which can lead to dangerous flooding when rain comes in. Here's how to prepare.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNewsand @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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