Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Montecito Again Under Mandatory Evacuations As Storm Bears Down On Celebrity Enclave

Montecito Again Under Mandatory Evacuations As Storm Bears Down On Celebrity Enclave

Thousands of Southern Californians were allowed to return to their homes Friday, one day after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced a mandatory evacuation in anticipation of a powerful storm that could bring "dangerous flash flooding, mud and debris flow". "And if something awful happens, I'll be able to get out of here". "Once the storm moves out of the area, we'll have a lovely bluebird powder day".

Officials said 87 percent of those in the threatened areas complied with the evacuation order, which was issued because of concern the storm could unleash debris flows from mountains burned bare by wildfires.

The communities near and below the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas are strongly recommended to relocate to safer locations for their own safety.

The 76-year-old said the three-story condo building where she lives was not damaged in January because it's on the ocean side of USA 101, which helped divert the mudslides that came down the mountains.

Sheriff Bill Brown said the evacuation was ordered because models of the storm showed a "risk to life and property and risk of disruption to critical services".

Significant preparations were being made Thursday in the event of flooding or mud flows.

An American Red Cross emergency shelter was opened at Santa Barbara's fairgrounds for anyone with no place to go. Large animals can also be housed there.

Earlier this week, the Montecito Union School District opted to host Thursday and Friday classes at schools in the Hope Elementary School District. The following areas in Santa Barbara could be impacted.

A flash flood warning for that area was canceled at 6:45 a.m., but watches remained in effect for parts of neighboring Ventura and Los Angeles counties as the storm front moved on.

Brown highlighted the potential threat that is on the way. The National Weather Service predicts that storm will drop 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch of rain per hour.

Before the latest storm passed and the evacuation orders were lifted, Laura Ziouani and her family packed, took their dogs and headed to a hotel.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.

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