Portions of Santa Barbara County were given mandatory evacuation orders, ahead of an approaching storm and possible mudslides.
As of 12 p.m. Thursday, individuals near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fire burn areas in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria were ordered to evacuate before 6 p.m.
A flash flood watch has been issued for areas of Santa Barbara County affected by the Thomas, Whittier, and Sherpa fires starting at 9 p.m. and lasting until 9 a.m. Friday.
The storm is expected to hit the Southern California region with moderate to heavy rainfall Thursday. Rains may generate mud and debris flows.
"The potential for debris flows being triggered is low to moderate. Waterway flows may be rapid and blockage and overtopping in waterways is expected. Roads may be flooded and impassable," a city release said. "People close to and immediately downstream of choke points may be endangered. It is important that community members understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities."
Highway 101 will be used to facilitate the evacuations. If rains force the highway to close, the city said California Highway Patrol would communicate alternate routes.
The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center for residents affected by the mandatory evacuations at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.
Get the most up-to-date information and debris flow risk areas on county's Ready Santa Barbara website.
San Diego County is forecasted to receive rain Thursday night - the heaviest rain and snow, however, will fall farther north.
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