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Santa Barbara County Issues Mandatory Evacuation Orders For Upcoming Storm; 18,000 People Impacted

(NOAA Image)
Monday night image of storm approaching West Coast

With a big winter storm coming, Santa Barbara County issued mandatory evacuation orders for three brush fire burn zones on the Central and South Coasts.

Officials say as of right now, the bullseye for the storm appears to be the Thomas Fire burn zone. The evacuation orders could affect as many as 18,000 people in Santa Barbara County.

Mandatory evacuations go into effect at noon Tuesday for what are classified as extreme risk and high risk areas around the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier brush fire burn zones.

The Alamo burn zone, in the northern part of the county, is a recommended evacuation warning area. We could see heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. The rain could be in the two to five inch range on the coast and inland, and five to ten inches in the foothills and mountains.

The biggest concern is about the possibility of concentrated heavy rainfall which could trigger new flooding and debris flows.

CHP officials say at this point, they will keep an eye on Highway 101 and keep it open, but if we get threatening rainfall it will be shut down as a precaution. 

Plans call for all South Coast schools to remain open Tuesday with the exception of Carpinteria Unified.

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