Southern California storm continues to batter Santa Barbara, Ventura counties

Posted at 11:08 AM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 14:08:02-04

(KGTV) - A strong storm continues to batter Santa Barbara and Ventura counties Thursday, putting areas burned by recent wildfires at risk for mudslides.

Heavy rain has led to fears of mudslides for residents downhill from areas burned in recent wildfires, including in Montecito, where mudslides killed 21 people in January.

With rainfall expected to increase throughout the day, Santa Barbara County officials issued a storm update and “Aware and Prepare” alert to its residents at about 5:20 a.m.

Rob Lewin, Director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, said, “The present wave of this storm is much stronger and more dangerous than what we have experienced over the last 24 hours. This is a very serious situation. We all need tostay safe by following the directions of our public safety leaders. Stay out of evacuation areas. Exercise extreme caution when driving.”

Just before 10 a.m., heavy rainfall was reported to be moving into the Santa Barbara County area.

Additionally, a Flash Flood Warning was issued for Santa Barbara County and was expected to be in effect until 12:30 p.m. A Flash Flood Warning was also issued for parts of Ventura County, around Ojai, that were charred by the Thomas Fire.

Ahead of the strong storm, authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas in Santa Barbara County. Mandatory evacuation were also issued for parts of Ventura County.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, all evacuation orders remain in effect.

Click on the map below to check the Santa Barbara County evacuation areas:

Click on the map below to view the Ventura County evacuation areas: