Santa Barbara County communities evacuated ahead of this week's storm

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KGTV) - Southern California cities affected by the Thomas fire were evacuated Wednesday morning due to the threat of mudslides from an approaching storm.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office issued a Recommended Evacuation Warning at 8 a.m. for the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

A National Weather Service report indicated the area may receive moderate to heavy rainfall from a storm arriving Thursday that may generate mud and debris flows.

RELATED: Local crew saves family from Montecito mudslide

There is a high risk for loss of life and property, the SBCSO said. First responders are trying to prevent tragedies like the deadly January mudslides in Montecito.

“If at any time people feel threatened, take immediate action. Do not wait for a notification. Those with access and functional needs and those with large animals should leave,” according to a statement from deputies.

San Diego County is expected to receive showers as early as Thursday night but the heaviest rain and snow will fall farther north in California. No evacuation orders have been issued locally. Check the forecast HERE.

SLIDESHOW: Photos show mudslide damage in Montecito

Evacuation centers and animal shelters will be opened Wednesday.

Schools will remain open until further notice.

MAPS:

Evacuation zones

Debris Flow

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