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Santa Barbara County Evacuation Orders Issued Ahead of New Storm

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has ordered about 3,000 residents to evacuate ahead of a new storm expected to hit areas scarred by wildfires, including parts of Montecito hit by a disastrous debris flow just over a year ago.

Residents of risk areas below the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire burn scars were told to leave their homes by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Sheriff Bill Brown told a press conference Monday that the storm is expected to be more intense than the last several storms.

Around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, residents began spotting intense lighting in Santa Barbara. County fire officials shared dramatic photos on Twitter.

Peak rainfall was expected to hit in the early morning hours of Wednesday, between 2 and 6 a.m.

A map published by the county Office of Emergency Management indicates that much of Montecito is at risk.

A January 2018 debris flow from the Thomas fire scar destroyed or damaged hundreds of Montecito structures, killed 21 people and left two others missing.

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