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Montecito is evacuated again ahead of a Pacific storm warning

More than 30,000 residents and workers of Santa Barbara County were subjected to a mandatory evacuation on Tuesday ahead of the strongest storm of the season for Southern California.

The worst of the Pacific storm – known as an ‘atmospheric river’, a huge plume of subtropical moisture – is expected between to be between midday Wednesday and Thursday.

Approximately two to five inches of rain could fall in coastal areas and valleys, and five to ten inches in foothills and mountains.

Officials have warned enough rain could hit California’s burn-areas to trigger a potentially dangerous debris flow, like the deadly mudslides in Montecito on January 9 that killed 21 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

Neighboring Ventura County has taken similar measures amid concerns in adjacent counties, evacuating 2,400 residents.

More than 30,000 residents and workers of Santa Barbara County were subjected to a mandatory evacuation on Tuesday ahead of the strongest storm of the season for Southern California

The worst of the Pacific storm - known as an 'atmospheric river', a huge plume of subtropical moisture - is expected between to be between midday Wednesday through Thursday

The worst of the Pacific storm – known as an ‘atmospheric river’, a huge plume of subtropical moisture – is expected between to be between midday Wednesday through Thursday

Approximately two to five inches of rain could fall in coastal areas and valleys, and five to ten inches in foothills and mountains

Approximately two to five inches of rain could fall in coastal areas and valleys, and five to ten inches in foothills and mountains

Many residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have faced repeated evacuations or advisories since December, when a wind-driven fire grew into the largest in recorded state history and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.    

Montecito resident Garrick Hyder evacuated for the December wildfire but not ahead of the January mudslides, which destroyed items in his garage that included a motorcycle and thousands of dollars’ worth of snowboarding and scuba-diving equipment.

Hyder watched as rescuers retrieved several bodies over several days from in front of his house. Mudslides had swept the dead from their homes miles away to the coast.

Hyder evacuated four days after the mudslides and then again when another storm threatened the area a week ago.

‘I’m on number four now,’ Hyder told The Associate Press on Tuesday as he packed his car. ‘It’s pretty crazy. It’s kind of the price of living in paradise.’

Many residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have faced repeated evacuations or advisories since December, when a wind-driven fire grew into the largest in recorded state history and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings

Many residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have faced repeated evacuations or advisories since December, when a wind-driven fire grew into the largest in recorded state history and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings

Flash flood watches were issued in both counties Tuesday ahead of the rain

Flash flood watches were issued in both counties Tuesday ahead of the rain

Officials have warned enough rain could hit California's burn-areas to trigger a potentially dangerous debris flow, like the deadly mudslides in Montecito on January 9 (pictured, aftermath) that killed 21 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses

Officials have warned enough rain could hit California’s burn-areas to trigger a potentially dangerous debris flow, like the deadly mudslides in Montecito on January 9 (pictured, aftermath) that killed 21 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses

The rain comes just months after more than 440 miles of land in Ventura and Santa Barabara counties were scorched in the largest fire in state history, making hillsides prone to mud and debris flows (Pictured, mud and debris from the January 9 mudslide)

The rain comes just months after more than 440 miles of land in Ventura and Santa Barabara counties were scorched in the largest fire in state history, making hillsides prone to mud and debris flows (Pictured, mud and debris from the January 9 mudslide)

Hyder was planning to stay in Los Angeles overnight and then head up north to Lake Tahoe to make the most of his latest evacuation.

‘I’m getting used to this,’ he said. ‘It’s kind of desensitizing.’  

National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Jackson told CBS News that the storm is likely to be the strongest so far this winter.

‘There’s a tremendous amount of moisture coming up out of the Pacific,’ he told the station, adding that the key to the storm will be its lengthy duration.  

The rain comes just months after more than 440 miles of land in Ventura and Santa Barabara counties were scorched in the largest fire in state history, making hillsides prone to mud and debris flows. 

Flash flood watches were issued in both counties Tuesday ahead of the rain.

An evacuation center will be opened at Earl Warren Showgrounds, Warren Hall, at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. For help evacuating large and small animals, call the Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.  



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk