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Major Storm En Route To Central, South Coasts; So Far, No Mandatory Evacuations

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Satellite image of cloud cover/radar of approaching storm

Thursday is going to be a long day for many people on the Central and South Coasts, as we wait for the arrival of the second big winter storm of the season. Concern remains high about the potential for flooding, and debris flows in and around brush fire burn areas, especially in Santa Barbara County.

A Recommended Evacuation Warning is in effect in the county, but so far authorities have held off on a mandatory evacuation order. Some people have already evacuated as a precaution.

The latest guidance from the National Weather Service indicates that the heaviest rainfall will take place between midnight Thursday to around sunrise Friday.  We could see an inch of rain on the coast, to up to three inches in the mountains.  There's concern we could get heavy, concentrated rainfall which could trigger flooding and debris flows, but the computer models suggest that the danger is much less than what we had during the deadly January 9th storm.

The 101 Freeway is open, but the CHP says if a mandatory evacuation order is issued later today for the South Coast, they will close it about two hours before the storm's arrival.

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