Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Santa Barbara County Prepares for Storm Expected to Arrive Thursday Night

March Begins With Local Winter Storm Warning Northern California weather: Storm comes in with a punch | The Sacramento Bee
| 03 March, 2018, 00:38

The storm isn't expected to touch down until late tonight and early Friday.

The 76-year-old said the three-story condo building where she lives was not damaged in January because it's on the ocean side of USA 101, which helped divert the mudslides that came down the mountains.

In Montecito, as many as 87 percent of residents are believed to have obeyed mandatory evacuation orders, compared to the 10 to 15 percent that complied ahead of a deadly mudslide on January 9.

If the approaching storm is judged to be severe, Santa Barbara County officials, based on an emergency plan they are following, could bump up the recommended evacuation warning they have issued to a mandatory order about 24 hours before rains arrive.

The evacuations affect three burn areas and the areas below them from January's Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies were out in force to assist in the evacuation, Anderson said.

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Gigi Graciette reported on the preparations from Montecito.

The heaviest rainfall was starting to move out of Santa Barbara County by 7:30 a.m., Seto said, but the area could get showers through Friday night and into Saturday. California Highway Patrol will re-evaluate the situation later and should the route need to be closed, it would be done "just prior to the arrival of the intense portion of the storm", the news release said. No thunderstorms are expected in the system, but rainfall rates - the primary factor contributing to mud or debris flow - are expected to exceed the one-half inch per hour threshold. This indicates that flash flooding conditions could develop if this rain picks up, causing mud and debris flow.

Residents living in or immediately downstream from the Thomas Fire area were urged to take immediate precautions to protect life and property.

A flash flood watch set to go into effect at 9 p.m. Thursday will run through Friday morning.

The storm pressed on across metropolitan Los Angeles, where the National Weather Service said there could be flooding near five wildfire burn areas.

Motorists were warned to stay off Northern California mountain roads as a major winter storm was expected to bring heavy snowfall, powerful winds and torrential rains at lower elevations Thursday.


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