Santa Barbara County Prepares for Storm Expected to Arrive Thursday Night

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and other public safety officials have issued a Recommended Evacuation Warning for the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

That warning is being issued due to an approaching winter storm expected to arrive Thursday night and continue through Friday. The National Weather Service predicts that storm will drop 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch of rain per hour. Those heavy rainfall amounts could generate mud and debris flows near the burn areas.

The communities near and below the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas are strongly recommended to relocate to safer locations for their own safety. High risk for loss of life and property exists.

According to the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office, "If at any time people feel threatened, take immediate action. Do not wait for a notification. Those with access and functional needs and those with large animals should leave"

Additional evacuation information will be provided Wednesday night. If a Mandatory Evacuation Order is issued, all persons must be out of the designated areas by Thursday, March 1 at 9a.m.

The location for evacuation centers and animal shelters will be announced tonight. Schools will remain open on Wednesday. School districts will contact individuals through their own communication channels.

Gigi Graciette reported on the preparations from Montecito.

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