Mandatory Evacuation Orders Issued For Parts of Santa Barbara County

Authorities ordered mandatory evacuations for several areas of Santa Barbara County on Thursday as a strong winter storm approaches the Southland. 

Sheriff Bill Brown told residents in neighborhoods near burn areas should be ready to get out. 

"If you live below these burn areas throughout the south coast, you should start leaving now," he said.

Authorities say they want everyone out of the area before nightfall, when the bulk of the storm is forecast to arrive. This storm won't be as powerful as the one that prompted mudslides that killed 21 people in Montecitom, but authorities say they're keeping an eye on it. 

A flash-flood warning has been issued for the Whittier and Thomas burn areas and will stay in effect until 9 a.m. Friday morning the National Weather Service said. Rainfall in the area is forecast to fall at a rate of up to 1/2 an inch per hour. 

Because of the huge area of evacuations, the sheriff said deputies won't be able to notify everyone in person. However, deputies will be sent to neighborhoods that are considered to be under "extreme risk" of mudslides.

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