Public safety officials say they are keeping a close eye on a storm approaching the Central and South Coasts, but at this point are holding off on any mandatory evacuation orders in brush fire burn areas.
Forecasters say at this point it doesn’t appear to have nearly the potential for heavy rainfall as the deadly January 9th event, which killed 23 people. They say it looks like it has about half of the intensity of the January storm,
Still. Meteorologist Eric Boldt, with the National Weather Service, says some locally heavy rainfall could be an issue. The storm is expected to arrive in Santa Barbara County around midnight, with the heaviest rain before sunrise.
A Recommended Evacuation Warning which went into effect at eight a.m. Wednesday for the burn areas is expected to remain in place. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says if the storm intensifies, or even if it stays at the same levels they may trigger mandatory evacuations Thursday.
The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Earl Warren Showgrounds for people who’ve decided they want to evacuate on their own.
Meanwhile, the CHP is emphasizing that while it will close the 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara if necessary, no closure has been scheduled at this point. Officials say they will closely monitor the weather, and if needed will take the action just before the arrival of the intense portion of the storm.