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Amid an exceptional drought that has plagued California for years, an atmospheric river is soaking the region, dumping copious amounts of precipitation and up to 6 feet of mountain snow. 

Atmospheric rivers are strips of exceptionally moist air, sometimes sourced from the tropics, that can produce excessive amounts of rain.

This heavy precipitation will help ease the drought but is also bringing potentially hazardous mudslides and debris flows in areas recently devastated by wildfires.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Alisal burn area west of Santa Barbara, from 6 a.m. Sunday to 12 p.m. Monday. The agency also warned of “significant mud and debris flows” around the wildfire burn scar area.

In Los Angeles County, fire stations are offering sand bags for those who wish to prepare for potential flooding.

“It’s a good time to come out right now when the sun is out and get what you need prior to the rain coming, because once that happens, that’s when conditions get a little dicey and dangerous for everybody,” said Capt. Ron Haralson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.