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With Rainfall Estimates Reduced for SoCal Storm, Evacuations and Flash Flood Watches Are Canceled

The first of three storms set to pass through Southern California this week began to drop rain on the region's recent burn areas Tuesday morning, but forecasters indicated the precipitation won't be as heavy as initially expected.

This first storm was initially predicted to bring between a 1/2 and 1 1/2 inches of rain, with foothill and mountain areas receiving 2 inches or more, according to the National Weather Service.

That amount of rainfall was downgraded by late morning, and a flash flood watch for recent burn areas was canceled shortly after 10 a.m.

Many Santa Barbara County residents were required to evacuate Monday night near areas burned by the Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier fires. But those orders were lifted by 10:30 a.m.

Heavy downpours in January triggered debris flows that left more than a dozen people dead and blocked the 101 Freeway in the area for two weeks. Authorities said revised expectations for Tuesday's storm were below the 1/4-inch-per-hour rainfall threshold for debris flows.

Officials has released an evacuation map and recommended residents go to ReadySBC.org for updated information on the weather conditions.

"Please do not wait for someone to come to your door and contact you in person to tell you to leave," county Sheriff Bill Brown said during a news conference Monday.

The map was highlighted in red and yellow, with red marking "extreme risk" areas that were under mandatory evacuations. Yellow areas were under a "recommended evacuation warning."

An evacuation center had been opened at the Goleta Valley Community Center at 5679 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.

A second storm expected arrive Wednesday night through Thursday, is likely to bring even lighter showers, according to the NWS.

Perhaps the coldest and strongest of the three storms is forecast to hit Southern California Friday through Saturday.

This storm is likely to bring a threat of brief, but heavier rainfall along with isolated thunderstorms.

Snow levels will lower to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet with this colder storm. Significant snowfall totals are expected at the higher elevations.

KTLA's Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.