Authorities ordered more than 30,000 Santa Barbara County residents and workers, and about 2,400 Ventura County residents to flee their homes Tuesday afternoon as a massive storm lumbered out of the eastern Pacific Ocean and plotted a collision course with Southern California's fragile, fire-scarred coast.
The storm — a bloated atmospheric river of tropical moisture known as a "pineapple express" — should make landfall Tuesday night. By Friday, the system is predicted to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain along the coast and up to 10 inches in the mountains and foothills above Montecito, Carpinteria and Ojai.
"Right now … it's taking a bull's-eye shot at Santa Barbara County, the Thomas fire and Ventura County," said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.
Of the 30,000 people ordered to flee Santa Barbara County, 21,000 are residents, according to spokeswoman Amber Anderson. The remaining 9,000 are people who work in the area during the day, she said.
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