Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Mandatory evacuations ordered as storm approaches

Mandatory evacuations ordered as storm approaches

Due to a strengthening weather system forecast to arrive early Tuesday morning, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is issuing a mandatory evacuation order for Extreme High Risk (red) areas near the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier burn areas.

Areas identified as "high risk" will be under a "recommended evacuation warning".

The mandatory orders will be in effect for areas the county has identified as being at "extreme high risk" for risky debris flows.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a potential for rainfall to exceed more than half an inch per hour, triggering debris flows by Tuesday morning.

County officials have released an evacuation map showing what areas are at greatest risk, with those living in red areas said to be at "extreme risk" and under mandatory evacuations.

Anyone needing assistance with evacuating large and small animals can contact Santa Barbara County Animal Services at 805-681-4332. The California Highway Patrol, the National Weather Service and public safety partners will monitor storm activity to ensure the 101 Freeway remains open to facilitate resident evacuations, the statement said.

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National Weather Service forecasters have issued a flash flood watch from Tuesday morning until Tuesday afternoon.

The county ordered evacuations for both areas during the March 2 storm, but chose to issue mandatory evacuation orders only for the extreme risk areas - which are closer to creeks and other water courses - for the Tuesday morning storm.

On the evacuation map, there are patches of red and yellow areas seen along the region from just south of Carpinteria and north up to the area around Montecito, where the mudslides earlier this year left over a dozen people dead in its trail of destruction.

The storm could produce rainfall rates of 0.7 inches per hour, forecasters said, above the threshold of a 1/2-inch at which debris flows are possible below burn areas. Bands of rain, timing and intensity will guide this decision, the statement said. Closure information will be communicated broadly to the public as decisions are made.

Officials have advised residents to look through emergency information at ReadySBC.org. Please consider altering your travel and commuting plans. Residents in this area should consult the map to determine the current status of this area.

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