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Heavy Rain Possible For Central, South Coast Brush Fire Burn Areas Thursday

Rain falls in Montecito Thursday morning

Public safety officials say the heaviest rainfall of the storm that's been hitting the Central and South Coasts this week could come on Thursday.

Rob Lewin, the Director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, warns it could be the strongest, more dangerous time for the region from the storm.

Waves of rain began hitting the region early Thursday morning.  As of 8 a.m. Thursday, rainfall totals include 2.7" in Santa Barbara, 1.8" in Ventura, 2.1" in Newbury Park, and 2.1" in Solvang.  The wettest spot in the region is Rocky Butte, a 3200 foot mountain east of San Simeon, in San Luis Obispo County, which has had 9.5" of rain.

Highway 101 is open, although there is minor shoulder flooding reported in some spots on the South Coast.

More than 30,000 people are impacted by evacuation orders in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.  Public safety officials say they are impressed with the high level of compliance for mandatory evacuation orders in Montecito.

Mike Eliason, with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, says there's while there's concern about what's been called "evacuation fatigue" since the string of evacuations dating back to the Thomas Fire in December, this is the new normal.  He says it takes three to five years for burn areas to recover enough that they won't provide hotspots for flooding, and debris flows.

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