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California rain forecast prompts mandatory evacuations

Santa Barbara County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for extreme and high-risk debris flow areas a...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 4:32 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 4:32 PM

Santa Barbara County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for extreme and high-risk debris flow areas ahead of the strongest storm of the season for Southern California.

"We have no choice but do to this," Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said. "It's not worth risking lives to avoid evacuation."

The season's strongest storm brings a high risk of flash flooding and debris flows in recent burn areas

Mandatory evacuations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties began Tuesday

Because of the burn scars from recent fires in the area, flash flooding and significant debris flows remain a major concern. The National Weather Service in Los Angeles has issued a flash flood watch for these areas across Southern California until late Thursday night.

The amount of rain and the intensity are enough to cause flooding even without the impact of the recent fires. "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," said Rob Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

A large and powerful storm system across the eastern Pacific Ocean is expected to bring periods of moderate to heavy rain to portions of southwest California as early as Tuesday afternoon, continuing through late Thursday or early Friday.

The National Weather Service predicts rainfall rates between half to three-quarters of an inch per hour, with rain totals of 5 to 10 inches in the foothills and mountains. This total is significantly more than during the January 9 debris flow, when there was 3 to 6 inches across the region.

The mandatory evacuation in Santa Barbara County is effective at noon Tuesday for burn areas near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires. Those located in the Alamo burn area are in a recommended evacuation warning area.

Mandatory and voluntary evacuations will also take effect at noon Tuesday in Ventura County.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 125738

Reported Deaths: 4529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles610682569
Riverside8777355
San Diego7940288
Orange7064174
San Bernardino5930217
Alameda3725101
Santa Clara2892144
San Francisco269843
Imperial256833
Kern253445
San Mateo229988
Tulare211692
Fresno201440
Santa Barbara173714
Contra Costa157738
Sacramento151959
Kings14526
Ventura121635
San Joaquin105036
Stanislaus81631
Monterey64010
Sonoma6104
Solano56522
Marin53017
Merced3207
San Luis Obispo2911
Placer2659
Santa Cruz2212
Yolo21624
Madera1413
Napa1293
Humboldt1044
San Benito1022
El Dorado1020
Butte651
Sutter512
Nevada491
Del Norte470
Shasta424
Mono371
Mendocino330
Yuba311
Lake300
Inyo201
Calaveras190
Glenn170
Mariposa161
Amador100
Siskiyou90
Tehama71
Colusa70
Lassen60
Tuolumne50
Plumas40
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Oroville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Paradise
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 59°
Chester
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 52°
Red Bluff
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Willows
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Much cooler with gusty winds and the potential for active weather this weekend.
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