SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for all areas of Santa Barbara County on Friday morning after the brunt of a storm passed through without triggering feared mud and debris flows.
The orders were rescinded by the sheriff's office as of 9 a.m. after consultation with fire agencies and other public safety officials, according to the county's verified Twitter account.
"The worst of the storm has passed and we are cautiously optimistic that due to a significant amount of pre-storm preparation we have come through this with minimal impact," Rob Lewin, director of the Office of Emergency Management, said in a statement.
Earlier Friday, a flash flood warning was downgraded to a flash flood watch for the Montecito and Carpinteria areas.
The watch, issued by the National Weather Service, expired at 9 a.m.
The affected coastal area was just below the Thomas Fire burn area, where heavy rains in January triggered mudslides that killed 21 people in Montecito.
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With that tragedy still fresh in memory, the county sheriff on Thursday announced a mandatory evacuation order for neighborhoods below the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier Fire burn areas.
Montecito seemed practically deserted early Friday as authorities and firefighters monitored the nearby hillsides. No significant mud or debris flows were reported amid light rain in the area.
According to the National Weather Service, heavier rain was falling in the eastern foothills of the Thomas Fire burn scar above Santa Paula and Fillmore in Ventura County, where nearly 1/2 inch of rain per hour was reported.