Mandatory evacuations issued for Santa Barbara County ahead of winter storm

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Ahead of heavy rain expected to hit the area in the next several days, Santa Barbara County issued mandatory evacuations for areas that are at extreme and high risk for debris flow.

The mandatory evacuations go into effect Tuesday at noon for residents near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas.

People in the Alamo burn area are in a recommended evacuation warning area. The latest models from the National Weather Service show the potential for rainfall of half an inch to three-quarters of an inch per hour, which could trigger debris flow.

The latest storm system to hit the area is also expected to bring between five to 10 inches of rain to the foothills and mountains.

The latest storm is projected to have the heaviest rainfall and longest duration of the winter storm season thus far.

Rob Lewin, Director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said the amount of rain and intensity is enough to cause flooding even without the impact of the recent wildfires.

“We could experience localized flooding and road closures which are not isolated to the burn areas. The threat of rock falls, mudslides and debris flow is high,” he noted.

Click on the map below to check the evacuation areas: 

Dry weather is expected in San Diego County ahead of the latest round of winter weather.

The National Weather Service sent out a tweet Monday afternoon warning that half an inch to as much as an inch and a half of rain could hit parts of the county. 

The bulk of the storm is predicted to hit the county Thursday afternoon into Thursday night. 

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