Mandatory evacuations ordered for parts of Santa Barbara County; voluntary evacuations issued in Ventura County

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Ventura County has also issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents of Matilija Canyon and North Fork beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday. (KABC)

Due to a strengthening weather system forecast to arrive early Tuesday morning, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is issuing a mandatory evacuation order for Extreme High Risk (red) areas near the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier burn areas.

Those in High Risk (yellow) areas not under mandatory evacuation order but are under Recommended Evacuation Warning and are at risk for flooding or being cut off from services and utilities.

People living in the red areas must be out by 8 p.m. tonight. Officials advise those with "access and functional needs" or people with large animals living in High Risk (yellow) areas to consider immediate evacuation.

Ventura County has issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents of Matilija Canyon and North Fork beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Updated meteorological models by the National Weather Service indicate that there is a potential for rainfall to exceed the half-inch-per-hour threshold that triggers debris flows Tuesday morning at daylight, a statement from Santa Barbara County said.

People in Extreme Risk (red) areas are required to evacuate. Officials will let residents go back to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so, the statement said. To determine if a residence or business is in the Extreme Risk Area, consult the evacuation boundaries map at ReadySBC.org.

Red Cross has established an evacuation center at Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117.

Anyone evacuated or otherwise affected by the approaching storm is welcome to find relief and comfort at this location, the statement said. For assistance evacuating large and small animals, contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline at 805-681-4332.

"The National Weather Service has informed us that the approaching storm is of greater intensity than was previously anticipated," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said in the statement. "The rate of rainfall is predicted to meet or exceed the threshold level that could trigger debris flows."

The California Highway Patrol, the National Weather Service and public safety partners will monitor storm activity to ensure the 101 Freeway remains open to facilitate resident evacuations, the statement said. If the 101 needs to be closed, officials said CHP will do so just prior to the arrival of the intense portion of the storm.

Bands of rain, timing and intensity will guide this decision, the statement said.

Closure information will be communicated broadly to the public as decisions are made, the statement said. Officials said residents can also go to ReadySBC.org for up-to-date information on evacuations and road closures.

Because the storm is expected to arrive during morning rush hour, travelers are asked to consider altering their commuting plans.
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