Mandatory Evacuations Lifted for Santa Barbara County
Mandatory Evacuation Orders Lifted for Santa Barbara County Effective Today (Thursday, March 22) at 5 p.m.
Recommended Evacuation Warning Lifted for the Alamo Fire Burn Areas
Tonight, moderate to heavy showers may be experienced with possible rainfall rates reaching 0.4 inches per hour. No major debris flows are expected. Minor debris flows may occur but will not threaten populated areas. The County will monitor this storm activity closely and will remain in communication with the National Weather Service.
This is the third of several weather systems that moved through the Santa Barbara south coast in the past two weeks. During each of these systems, local creeks and debris basins effectively maintained water within their boundaries and were able to carry significant amounts of rock and debris. Damage was minimal and there were no debris flows resulting in significant damage. We would like to thank the public for their swift cooperation and collaboration towards keeping our community safe.
Some roads in these areas may be closed due to flooding or other hazards. Individuals returning to the area should take caution in traveling these roads and report any non-emergency hazards to the Santa Barbara County’s Sheriff’s Office at 805-681-4100.
The County’s interactive evacuation map will be updated today to reflect changes made to evacuation orders. Please visit ReadySBC.org to access the interactive evacuation map or call the Public Information Call Center at 833-688-5551 for assistance.
If evacuated residents who are returning to their residences have a need for wheelchair or other specialized transport needs, call Easy Lift at 805-681-1180.
Update by the County of Santa Barbara
Mandatory Evacuation Order Issued Effective at Noon Tuesday, March 19 for Extreme and High Risk Areas (Red, Yellow and Grey on Debris Flow Risk Map)
Individuals in the Alamo burn area are in a Recommended Evacuation Warning area.
People with access and functional needs in the Extreme and High Risk areas should consider immediate evacuation. Owners of large animals and livestock should consider relocating immediately.
Updated meteorological models by the National Weather Service indicate that there is potential for rainfall intensity of between .5 to .75 inches per hour, which could trigger debris flows at any time during the storm. In addition, the storm is expected to bring between 5 and 10 inches of rain in the foothills and mountains, significantly more total rainfall than the 1/9 Debris Flow, which brought between 3 and 6 inches to the region.
Those in the Extreme and High Risks areas are required to evacuate at noon on Tuesday (March 20). To determine if a residence or business is in the evacuation area, consult the evacuation boundaries map at ReadySBC.org or call 2-1-1.
The Red Cross will open an evacuation center at Earl Warren Showgrounds, Warren Hall, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, at noon on Tuesday (March 20). Anyone evacuated or otherwise affected by the approaching storm is welcome to find relief and comfort at this location. For assistance evacuating large and small animals, contact Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline at 805-681-4332.
According to the National Weather Service this storm is projected to have the heaviest rainfall and the longest duration of this winter storm season. All models indicate high confidence in rainfall totals and the duration of the storm.
According to Rob Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, the amount of rain and the intensity is 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, mud slides and debris flow is high,” he noted.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP), the National Weather Service and public safety partners will monitor storm activity to ensure Highway 101 remains open to facilitate resident evacuations. If Highway 101 needs to be closed, CHP would do so just prior to the arrival of the intense portion of the storm. Bands of rain, timing, and intensity will guide this decision. Closure information will be communicated broadly to the public as decisions are made. Community members should go to ReadySBC.org for up-to-date information on evacuations and road closures.
Source: County of Santa Barbara
A Pre-Evacuation Advisory has been continued for the Thomas, Sherpa, Whittier, and Alamo Fire burn areas due to an approaching winter storm forecasted for Tuesday night. This is the time to prepare you and your family for evacuation within the next 48 hours if you live near a burn area in Santa Barbara County.
The National Weather Service forecast there is the potential for a prolonged period of moderate to heavy rainfall with this system, with highest rainfall intensities expected to occur sometime between the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22. During this time, rainfall rates will likely exceed USGS thresholds, bring a threat of significant flash flooding and debris flows in recent burn areas. The forecast currently is indicating rainfall rates per hour of .50 to .75 inches. Peak 3 hour rates of 1.00 to 2.00 inches. Total rainfall could be 4.00 to 6.00 inches in the south facing foothills/mountains.
The County, emergency officials and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring the situation and will alert the public with more information as the storm approaches. Impact areas need to prepare for an evacuation for Tuesday night through Thursday.
Public and Private schools will be providing information on closures or relocation sites as the storm get closer.
Debris flows are predicted in or near creeks and channels. Because this storm is longer duration with total rainfall up to 6 inches in the mountains, mudslides and rockfall in or near the burn areas are possible.
If at any time during this storm, or any storm, anyone feels threatened, action should be taken to leave for high ground or a safe area. Do not wait for a notification. If an individual or family has access or functional needs, or has large animals to move, consider leaving well in advance. For more information on the risk please go to ReadySBC.org. To go directly to the Interactive Debris Flow Risk Areas map, visit ReadySBC.org/StormReadyMap. Please also standby for future updates.
A Pre-Evacuation Advisory has been issued for the areas below the Thomas, Sherpa, Whittier and Alamo fires due to an approaching winter storm forecasted for Tuesday night . This is the time to prepare for evacuation within the next 72 hours for anyone who lives near a burn area in Santa Barbara County.
The National Weather Service forecast indicates there is the potential for a prolonged period of moderate to heavy rainfall with this system, with highest rainfall intensities expected to occur sometime between late Tuesday night, March 20 through early Thursday, March 22. During this time, rainfall rates will likely exceed USGS thresholds and bring the threat of significant flash flooding and debris flows in recent burn areas. The forecast currently is indicating rainfall rates of .5 to .75 inches per hour.
"Based on today's forecast from the National Weather Service, this is the most powerful storm of the season since the 1/9 Debris Flow," said Rob Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.
The County, emergency officials and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring the situation and will alert the public with more information as the storm approaches. Impact areas need to prepare for the possibility of an evacuation for Tuesday through Thursday.
If at any time during this storm, or any storm, anyone feels threatened, action should be taken to leave for high ground or a safe area. Do not wait for a notification. If an individual or family has access or functional needs, or has large animals to move, consider leaving well in advance.