Parts of Southern California face mandatory evacuation amid incoming storm


The Santa Barbara County evacuations covered residents living near areas burned by three major wildfires over the past 18 months. Harriet Mosson, a resident of Montecito, vowed to remain in her residence, an apparent defiance of the evacuation order.

Santa Barbara County officials said that while the potential for debris flow is low to moderate, waterways may spill over into roadways. Individuals near the charred areas of the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires were told to leave the area by 6 p.m., a news release said.

Some residents, however, will not heed evacuation orders.

People can not be forced to leave their homes under a mandatory evacuation order, but authorities said they should not be expected to be rescued while the storm event is occurring.

"This is the first storm since the 1/9 debris flow and we can not take any unnecessary chances", he said.

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He urged parents to promptly pick up their children from school Thursday, and to wait for word from schools on the status of classes Friday.

The evacuation was put into effect in the same general area where torrential rains on January 9 unleashed cascades of mud, boulders and other debris that killed 21 people, injured dozens of others and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. It wasn't immediately known if the mudslide caused any damage to homes, or if there were any injuries. We know that being evacuated is a tremendous hardship and we did not make this decision lightly. "I think the best you can do is listen to the evacuations, at this point, and be somewhere safe".

"Compared to the last event where we had very, very, very heavy rain in like a five-, 10-minute period, we're not really expecting the really heavy, quick intense rainfall, but I would say there's definitely a chance there'll be some issues in that Montecito area", said Curt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The watch, issued by the National Weather Service, expired at 9 a.m.

At about 9 a.m. Friday, county officials announced that the orders were lifted "for all areas" after "consultation with fire agencies and other public safety officials".

A debris flow from heavy rainfall early Friday morning prompted officials to close State Route 33 at Fairview Road near Ojai, the California Highway Patrol tweeted just after 4 a.m. More information is available on the LAFD website. The maps will be updated as the evacuation order changes.