Evacuations Ordered for Southern California Burn Scar Areas as Rain Moves In

Evacuations Ordered for Southern California Burn Scar Areas as Rain Moves In

Evacuations Ordered for Southern California Burn Scar Areas as Rain Moves In

In the Whittier and Thomas burn areas, a flash-flood warning is scheduled to remain in effect until 9 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said, adding that rainfall may exceed 1/2 inch per hour.

Many Santa Barbara County South Coast mountain areas received more than 2 inches of rainfall as of 7 a.m. Friday, with more still falling.

Officials said the agencies involved in emergency operations will analye the evacuation process and thresholds for the storm that began rolling in late Thursday and reached full intensity after midnight.

The search was suspended overnight due to high avalanche danger in the mountains where 3 feet (90 centimetres ) of snow has fallen and winds were gusting to almost 150 miles per hour (240 kph).

County sheriffs said that about 22,000 people live in the regions, but that the evacuations would impact closer to 25,000 or 30,000 people when factoring in those who come and go from the area daily.

Officials fear the storm could trigger another round of mudslides and debris flows in communities still recovering from the devastating mudslides in January - though perhaps not as severe.

The cold front is expected to bring snow to foothill areas as low as 3,500 feet (1,066 meters), and officials warned people to stay off mountain roads.

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"We want everyone to be out of the area and out of harm's way by nightfall", Mr Brown said.

"The catch basins were effective", said Tom Fayram, deputy director of the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District.

Residents of coastal Southern California neighbourhoods are under evacuation orders ahead of a powerful winter storm sweeping in after bringing heavy snow and whiteout conditions to northern mountains.

The Sheriff's Office recommended that those living in parts of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria to evacuate beginning at 8am on Wednesday.

The storm was predicted to last through Saturday as it moved across the state after originating in the Gulf of Alaska.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 people in south coast communities of Santa Barbara County will be affected by the order, Sheriff Bill Brown said. Twenty-one people were killed and two remain missing.

Some of the areas where people have been advised to leave their homes in the latest warning overlap with places hit by debris flows in January, Hoover said.

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