Wednesday, January 16, 2019
The heavy storm system that was forecasted to body-slam Santa Barbara early this week instead split to the north and south, delivering a steady drenching but without the predicted intensity that triggered fears of debris flows and a mandatory evacuation order for the areas below the Sherpa, Whittier, and Thomas Fire burn scars. The order went out at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and was lifted at 6 p.m. that evening. Rain counts totaled 2-3 inches in the mountains with 1.25 inches in Montecito, and more storms are expected later in the week. Lake Cachuma’s capacity increased from 31 percent to 31.4 percent. Emergency officials say they’re keeping a close eye on National Weather Service forecasts and will order additional evacuations if necessary.