Storm Prompts Evacuations On South Coast; 101 Remains Open

Mar 13, 2018

Evacuation orders are in effect for a number of areas on the South Coast as the first in a series of three storms arrives in the region Tuesday morning.

National Weather Service forecasters say the storm has the potential to exceed thresholds for flooding and debris flows in brush fire burn areas.

The storm is moving a little slower than had been anticipated.  It was expected to hit the South Coast hard starting at around 7 a.m., but the latest projections call for the heaviest rain between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.. The Thomas Fire burn areas could see the heaviest rain between 10 and 1.

Peak hourly rainfall rates are  expected to exceed USGS thresholds, perhaps hitting .70" per hour.  Heavy concentrated rain during a short period of time like we had during the 1/9 debris flow is the biggest concern, and what prompted the latest evacuation orders.

The county is using new evacuation protocols, so mandatory evacuations are now being more focused. On county maps, areas which are red, near waterways, are considered extremely high risk mandatory evacuation areas. Yellow areas on the updated map are considered high risk, under a recommended evacuation warning. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says while people in yellow areas don’t have to go, they should leave.  The orders took effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

In Ventura County, a voluntary evacuation order is in effect for Matilija Canyon, and the North Fork area because of potential debris flow concerns.

Highway 101 is open on the South Coast.