SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for parts of Santa Barbara County on Thursday as the week's second winter storm approached the Southland, whose recent burn areas are susceptible to mudslides and debris flows.
Speaking at a morning press conference, Sheriff Bill Brown addressed residents in the affected neighborhoods -- near areas burned by the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier Fires.
"If you live below these burn areas throughout the south coast, you should start leaving now," he said.
Mandatory evacuation orders issued for parts of Santa Barbara County as storm nears
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in Montecito, Carpinteria and west of Goleta.
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According to the sheriff, authorities "want everyone to be out of the area, and out of harm's way, by nightfall," when the brunt of the storm is expected to begin arriving.
The new storm is not expected to be as powerful as the one on Jan. 9, which led to mudslides that killed 21 people in Montecito. However, Thursday's system does meet the threshold for evacuations, Brown said.
A strong portion of the winter storm is expected to begin any time after 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. Friday. Some rainfall was already seen in the area Thursday night, leaving some business owners worried.
"If we have to evacuate, we have to evacuate, and hopefully it won't be as bad as last time," said Alex Normand of Giovanni's of Montecito.
In the Whittier and Thomas burn areas, a flash-flood warning is scheduled to remain in effect until 9 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said, adding that rainfall may exceed 1/2 inch per hour.
"Due to the size and breadth of the evacuation area, we will not be able to notify everyone in person," the sheriff's said, although deputies will be going door-to-door in neighborhoods of "extreme risk."