Thomas Fire Burn Areas Escape Storm Mostly Unscathed

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A blizzard warning has expired but the National Weather Service says whiteout conditions are still possible around Lake Tahoe where 3 feet of snow (90 centimetres ) already has fallen and winds gusting to almost 150 miles per hour (240 kph) shut down Interstate 80.

Many Santa Barbara County South Coast mountain areas received more than 2 inches of rainfall as of 7 a.m. Friday, with more still falling.

Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for all areas of Santa Barbara County on Friday morning after the brunt of a storm passed through without triggering feared mud and debris flows.

Sheriff Brown urged people not to wait for an individual warning, or for someone to come to their home, and instead urged those living within the boundaries of the evacuation order to evacuate immediately.

Emergency officials say they will be analyzing the evacuation process and results of this storm to make decisions for future rain events.

As a effect, vegetation that helped anchor earth in place was burned from hillsides when torrential rains arrived a month later and sent mud and debris thundering into the town of Montecito.

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"The catch basins were effective", said Tom Fayram, deputy director of the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District.

The storm moved into Los Angeles and Ventura counties on Friday bringing a flood advisory with it. The National Weather Service predicts that storm will drop 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch of rain per hour.

The storm will continue to bring showers to Southern California into Saturday according to forecasters. Santa Barbara-area CHP officials said on Twitter that they were monitoring the situation "should a closure become necessary". Twenty-one people were killed then and two remain missing.

Thousands of residents in a Southern California county where 21 people died from mudslides in January were advised on Wednesday to leave their homes, ahead of a rainstorm that officials said could again trigger a cascade of mud and rocks.

County officials said minor roadway flooding and debris flows were possible around the Whittier Fire and Sherpa Fire burn areas and flooding was expected on Highway 101 near Gaviota State Park, Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass, and near Lake Cachuma.

In a news release, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, "Together we made it through the first winter storm since the 1/9 Debris Flow".