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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 2:45 am | Partly Cloudy 48º

 
 
 
 

Evacuation Orders Dropped As Storm Comes in Weaker Than Expected

Santa Barbara County officials say 'critical rain rates did not materialize'; flash flood watch also dropped

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team personnel stage at Montecito’s Manning Park Tuesday morning. The expected storm and heavy rainfall failed to materialize and officials canceled evacuation orders and a flash flood watch. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team personnel stage at Montecito’s Manning Park Tuesday morning. The expected storm and heavy rainfall failed to materialize and officials canceled evacuation orders and a flash flood watch.  (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

Mandatory evacuation orders were canceled Tuesday morning for communities below recent wildfire burn areas after a winter storm came in weaker than expected.

Santa Barbara County’s Office of Emergency Management announced that the evacuation orders were dropped effective at 10:30 a.m.

“The National Weather Service has advised that critical rain rates did not materialize over the area as expected,” emergency officials said in a press release.

A Flash Flood Watch that had been effect also was dropped by the National Weather Service.

"It's still there," Stuart Seto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said of the storm. "It's just not as intense as they were thinking."

Predictions Monday night were that the weather system could produce rainfall rates of 0.7 inches per hour, above the 0.5-inch threshold for possible dangerous debris flows for areas burned by the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fires.

"We're still looking at a good rain," Seto said, adding that showers were expected to continue through the day and into the evening on Tuesday.

Rainfall totals were forecast to range between 1/2 inch and 1.5 inches, Seto said.

Another weather system is expected to move through the area Wednesday night into Thursday, and a third is forecast for Friday night into Saturday, but neither is likely to be a problem, Seto said.

» Click here for the latest forecast.

» Click here for real-time rainfall totals.

» Click here for the Ready Santa Barbara County website.

» Click here to sign up for Noozhawk’s free breaking news text alerts to your cell phone.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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