What to Know
- Rain is expected to range from 1.50' to 3' in the foothills.
- Officials expect a powerful winter storm to slam burn scar areas in Southern California.
- The Earl Warren Showgrounds has been set as an evacuation site for Santa Barbara County residents. Large animals will be accepted there
An evacuation order that affected thousands of Santa Barbara County residents was lifted Friday morning after a winter storm moved out of the region.
Rain moved into the Montecito area early Friday, but the strip of coastal communities that were under evacuation orders appeared to have avoided a repeat of destructive debris flows that struck during a January storm. The warning comes nearly two months after deadly mudslides claimed 21 lives in the seaside town of Montecito in what was the season's first significant storm.
The flash flood warning expired at about 6:45 a.m. There were reports of only minor debris and mud flows.
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"Things are going very well," Suzanne Grimmesey, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County, said shortly before dawn. "The worst of the storm has passed over."
Officials planned to survey the region after sunrise, but Grimmesey said things were expected to look good.
"We feel very optimistic," she said.
Mandatory evacuations were issued Thursday for burn scar areas as tens of thousands of residents in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Summerland, Montecito and Carpinteria were affected by the order. Those who live in areas under the mandatory evacuation were ordered to leave their homes by 6 p.m.
"Together we made it through the first winter storm since the 1/9 Debris Flow," said Sheriff Bill Brown. "On behalf of all public safety and emergency officials, we want to thank you for staying informed, being prepared and following the evacuation orders issued yesterday.
"We know that being evacuated is a tremendous hardship and we did not make this decision lightly. Because of your cooperation we were able to get through this together."
California Highway Patrol announced it will close the 101 Freeway if needed, but it remained open Friday. Minor debris flow was reported at 4:15 a.m. Friday on Bella Vista Drive near Romero Canyon road, according to CHP. The debris spead across 14 feet in the Thomas fire burn area.
CHP reported "siginificant flooding" at 4:20 a.m. near the intersection of East Valley Lane and Highway 192 in Montecito.
No structural damage or injuries were reported.
The Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. Large animals will be accepted at the center and those with such animals are asked to contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Services at 805-681-4332.
For more information on weather warnings in Santa Barbara County, visit here.