Coming rainstorm prompts Santa Barbara County officials to issue warning

Feb 28, 2018

Santa Barbara County officials sent out a warning Tuesday evening of a coming storm that could bring more debris flows to areas scarred by recent fires.  But late Wednesday afternoon, the county said it doesn't plan to upgrade that evacuation warning to mandatory. Instead county officials issued a flash flood watch. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office issued the evacuation warning for Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria

The current forecast from the National Weather Service says a rainstorm late Thursday night through Friday could bring one point five to three inches of rain in the foothills. Communities near and below areas burned by the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires are still being warned to get out of harm's way.

KCBX News talked to people around Montecito Wednesday to find out if they are planning to heed the county’s warnings.

“My mom lives on a creek and her home is called Creek Cottage, so we’re definitely going to go,” said Montecito resident Nicole Daniel. She was planning to evacuate her 93-year-old mother and her caregiver.

Hartmut and Rose Walter have lived at their Montecito home for almost 30 years. It was spared in the January 9 debris flow.

“Nothing happened here, as you see, everything is in good condition as it was before,” Hartmut Walter said. “It stopped right outside the wall there, and all around us, but it didn't come in here.”

For now, the couple said they are staying put.

“Are we going to evacuate, yes or no?” Hartmut asked his wife.

“No, we say no, because we have a horse and it's very difficult for Equine Rescue to come and move him,” Rose Walter said. “Right now we don't even know where they’re going to have the stables available to take him to, so last time it was a real drama, a real drama, so this time we decide we’re going to stick it out.”

Emergency officials says they could still issue a mandatory evacuation order Thursday morning if warranted. To learn more about the warnings for each neighborhood, visit the website ReadySBC dot org.

Anjalie Tandon contributed to this report from Montecito.