Mandatory evacuations ordered for Santa Barbara Coast

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Noon Thursday: Mandatory evacuation order issued in parts of southern coastal Santa Barbara County. "And if something bad happens, I'll be able to get out of here".

"You should start leaving now", Mr Brown said, adding that sheriff's deputies were being dispatched to areas at the highest risk.

In Montecito, as many as 87 percent of residents are believed to have obeyed mandatory evacuation orders, compared to the 10 to 15 percent that complied ahead of a deadly mudslide on January 9.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office issued a Recommended Evacuation Warning at 8 a.m. for the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

Around 22,000 residents are likely to be impacted by the mandatory evacuation order, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

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"We're thrilled about this storm", said Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe.

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

The County of Santa Barbara is hosting a live press conference to address the approaching winter storm and evacuations on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

People with mobility issues or those with large animals should get out now, officials said.

The Santa Barbara County evacuations covered residents living near areas burned by three major wildfires over the past 18 months.

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Earlier this week, the Montecito Union School District opted to host Thursday and Friday classes at schools in the Hope Elementary School District.

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. Concentrated near Montecito and Santa Barbara, it forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate including a number of celebrities.

Brown highlighted the potential threat that is on the way.

A detailed map of the evacuation order can be found here.

As of 6:15 a.m., San Marcos Pass had received 3.37 inches of rain, and 2.32 inches in the previous six hours. A high-pressure ridge will begin to form Sunday afternoon, contributing to a warmup early next week.

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