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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 6:07 pm | Partly Cloudy 64º


Flash Flood Watch Issued for Tea, Gap Fire Areas

Showers are expected through Christmas Day.

Local weather conditions have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for Santa Barbara County, particularly for areas in and near the Tea and Gap fires.

Residents living below the Gap Fire burn area in Goleta and in and downstream from the Tea Fire burn area in Montecito and Santa Barbara are advised to stay alert to the possibility of a flood emergency, and be prepared to act and evacuate if ordered, officials said Wednesday.

Rain is expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon, tapering to showers overnight and through Christmas Day. Highs in the upper 50s are expected with lows in in the mid-30s. The rain is not likely to deter Santa Claus on his Christmas eve rounds. Click here to follow his progress.

In the Tea Fire burn area, residents near or below the Sycamore Canyon watershed are most likely to be affected, from neighborhoods in the burn area to the Lower Eastside.

In the Gap Fire burn area, virtually all residents living in the neighborhoods and foothills north of the Goleta Valley and along the creeks are vulnerable to floods and mudflows in the event of heavy rain. Also affected could be low-lying areas like the Winchester Commons neighborhood in western Goleta, Old Town Goleta and the Santa Barbara Airport.

A flash flood watch is issued when the risk of flooding and debris flows increases, but the timing is uncertain. Residents in the at-risk areas have a lead time of about six to 24 hours to prepare for a flood. A flash flood warning indicates a flood is imminent and poses a risk to life and property. Residents in the affected areas have mere minutes to more than an hour to evacuate.

Additionally, the weather service may issue an urban and small stream flood advisory when minor flooding occurs at bridges, streets or other low-lying areas.

Click here to view the latest weather service reports for Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Sand bags are available for residents at the sand bag station located at the city of Santa Barbara’s Corporate Annex Yard, 401 E. Yanonali St.

The station will be open until 2 p.m. Wednesday, closed Thursday, open from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and closed on the weekend. There is no limit on the number of sand bags residents may take, but residents should be prepared to fill sand bags and bring gloves.

Sand bags also are available at Santa Barbara County Fire Station 14, 320 Los Carneros Road, and at the Montecito Fire Protection District stations, 595 San Ysidro Road and 2300 Sycamore Canyon Road.

In the event of a large emergency or disaster, the county and the cities will work with area news organizations to distribute emergency public information. The county’s “Stations of Choice” for emergency news currently include the following AM stations: KTMS-990; KZSB-1290; KUHL-1410; KINF-1440; and the San Marcos Pass Radio Station 1040. FM stations are KCSB-91.9; KSYV-96.7; KTYD-99.9; KSBL-101.7; and KRAZ-105.9. In addition, the Spanish language FM stations, KSPE-94.5 and KIST-107.7, are designated “Stations of Choice” in the cooperative agreement with the county.

Click here for more information from the county, click here for the city of Santa Barbara or click here for the city of Goleta.

Click here for more information on emergency preparedness.

Write to [email protected]

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