Mandatory evacuations ordered as storm threatens Santa Barbara County

Mandatory evacuations ordered as storm threatens Santa Barbara County

"Each storm since the 1/9 Debris Flow adds to our understanding and ability to make decisions to keep residents safe, evacuate residents only when necessary, and return residents home as soon as possible", said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

The cancellation late Tuesday morning was effective immediately. However, those evacuation orders were lifted at 10:30 a.m.

The move came as the National Weather Service cancelled flash-flood watches for communities near wildfire burn scars.

To help assess potential risks, the county advises residents to check the Debris Flow Risk Map posted at www.ReadySBC.org.

A release from the county noted that several factors will be taken into account when determining evacuation plans, including projected amount and intensity of rainfall; capacity of debris basins and creek channels at the time of a predicted storm; status of potential obstructions that can change the direction of water flow; the level of ground saturation; and the risk of damage to basic utilities.


Due to a strengthening weather system forecast to arrive early Tuesday morning, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has issued a mandatory evacuation order for Extreme High Risk areas (labeled above in red) along the southern Santa Barbara County coast.

Heavy downpours in January triggered debris flows that left more than a dozen people dead and blocked the 101 Freeway in the area for two weeks.

On Monday, Santa Barbara County officials issued an evacuation order for areas designated as being at extreme risk and recommended evacuations for other areas.

In Ventura County, where the Thomas Fire devastated so much in December creating the conditions that led to January's killer mudslides farther north, the rain was steady but falling on blackened earth, interrupted by patches of green grass.

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