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Fast Approaching Storm Results in Immediate Mandatory Evacuation Order Issued for Areas of Extreme Risk for Debris Flow

By Aaron Briner
Mar 12, 2018 at 11:04 PM

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, in consultation with National Weather Service and other public safety officials, has issued a Mandatory Evacuation Order effective today (Monday) for individuals in Extreme Risk (red) areas near the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier burn areas due to a rapidly approaching winter storm. Individuals must be out of the evacuation area by 8 p.m. tonight.   

Those in High Risk (yellow) areas not under mandatory evacuation order, however, are under Recommended Evacuation Warning and are at risk for flooding or being cut off from services and utilities.  People with access and functional needs or large animals living in High Risk (yellow) areas should consider immediate evacuation.

Updated meteorlogical models by the National Weather Service indicate that there now is a potential for rainfall to exceed the 0.5 inch per hour threshold that triggers debris flows tomorrow morning at daylight.

People in Extreme Risk (red) areas are required to evacuate. Officials will return individuals to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so. To determine if a residence or business is in the Extreme Risk Area, consult the evacuation boundaries map at

Red Cross has established an evacuation center at Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117. 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 Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, “The National Weather Service has informed us that the approaching storm is of greater intensity than was previously anticipated. The rate of rainfall is predicted to meet or exceed the threshold level that could trigger debris flows.”

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 deicsions are made. Community members should go to for up-to-date information on evacuations and road closures.  As this storm is expected to arrive during morning rush hour.  Please consider altering your travel and commuting plans.

The interactive debris flow risk areas map was updated on Saturday, March 10 with changes effecting the Carpinteria community.  Residents in this area should consult the map to determine the current status of this area.

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