Santa Barbara County burn scar areas are under immediate threat of flash flooding, as are areas of the City of Santa Barbara, the National Weather Service warned around 7:30 a.m. County emergency managers have sent out messages to residents near the Sherpa, Whittier, and Thomas fires, and the city, for people to stay on higher ground and avoid low-lying roads or creek zones.
At 8:30 a.m., the NWS stated, southeast portions of the county were getting pounded with 0.40 to 0.58 inches of rain in five minutes. Anyplace vulnerable to flooding, as along Montecito, San Ysidro and Romero creeks, or other Thomas Fire drainage was at risk. The current flash flood warning is in effect until 9:45 a.m.
The arrival of a heavy storm cell on Saturday morning accompanied by high winds may be responsible for reports to County Fire of downed power wires in Santa Maria and on Santa Barbara’s upper State Street. SoCal Edison reports about 900 customers are without power in Santa Barbara, most attributed to wind or storm conditions. Wind gusts of up to 55mph were clocked at San Marcos Pass at 6 a.m.
California Highway Patrol is reporting some flooded streets and small rock and mud slides. One is hampering traffic at the Nojoqui Grade on the 101 until it can be cleared. A boulder is reported on the 154. Shepard Mesa near Carpinteria has a tree hanging above the road with Montecito Fire responding.
On Friday, as the need for evacuation became clearer given storm projections, the American Red Cross advised that just six inches of fast flowing water can knock a person off their feet and two feet can float a car. Barricades are erected for protection and often indicate high water lies beyond that can swamp a car; finding another route is advised.
Red Cross also suggested residents listen to the radio, NOAA, or television for alerts and to be prepared. In the event of power failure, the county stated, emergency information will go out over radio waves in Spanish and English at the following stations:
• KTMS 990 AM
• KUHL 1440 AM
• KOSJ 1490 AM
• KZSB 1290 AM
• KCLU 1340 AM
• KCLU 89.7 / 92.1 / 88.3 / 102.3 FM
• KCBX 99.5 / 95.1 /90.9 FM
• KSYV 96.7 FM
• KRAZ 105.9 FM
• KLITE/KSBL 101.7 FM
• KOSJ 94.1 FM
• KTYD 99.9 FM
• KSPE 94.5 FM (La Musical)
• KIST 107.7 FM (Radio Bronco)
The emergency warnings asked residents not to respond by calling 9-1-1 except for a crisis. Rather, call 2-1-1 for information or the county hotline at (833) 688-5551. A Red Cross Evacuation Center is open at the Goleta Valley Community Center (5679 Hollister Ave.). For assistance evacuating animals, contact the Animal Hotline at (805) 681-4332.
This story will be updated.