National Weather Service Update as of 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 - The heavier rains that were predicted for early today have not materialized, but could still move in throughout the day and into this evening. A cold front is expected to move in later today that could bring lightning and thunderstorms with a heavy down pour by 7 p.m. and continue into Monday. A high wind warning is still in place through 7 p.m. with a concern for downed trees and power lines.
Following winter weather warnings from the National Weather Service for Santa Barbara County, an evacuation warning has been issued from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff for areas burned in the Sherpa Fire including El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitan State Beach, Refugio State Beach, Refugio Canyon, Canada Venadito Canyon, del Coral, and Las Flores Canyon. The warning is currently in place, but could be upgraded to an evacuation order as conditions warrant.
Advisories issued Sunday, January 22 from the National Weather Service include a high wind warning in place through 7 p.m. Sunday. Wind speeds of 25-40 MPH are expected with gusts from 60-80 MPH possible. A flash flood watch is in effect until 6 p.m. on Monday, January 23 for all areas of Santa Barbara County, not just the burn areas. The heaviest rains are expected from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with scattered showers and possible thunder through Sunday night into Monday.
El Capitan and Refugio state parks are currently closed, as well as the northbound Hwy 101 off ramp at El Capitan. Dominion Road in Santa Maria is closed from Clark to Orcutt Garey. Gaviota Road is closed.
Santa Barbara County would like to remind residents and visitors to register at the "Aware and Prepare" emergency notification system website at
www.awareandprepare.org to receive alerts. If we can't reach you, we can't alert you.
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- Where the public can get information:
Sand bags are also available to the public, free of charge, at the following primary locations: Santa Barbara Maintenance Yard and Santa Maria Maintenance Yard.
Evacuation Warning Information: An evacuation warning means there is a strong likelihood that there will be a risk to life and property, and residents in the warning area should take this time to prepare to leave quickly if given a mandatory evacuation order. Time should be taken to gather family members, pets, valuables, and important paperwork/documents. An individual or family should be ready to leave at a moment's notice. However, if anyone feels threatened, do not wait for an evacuation order – leave immediately.
For Your Safety: The public is encouraged to avoid going out in the storm and to stay off the roads. If you must drive, please use caution, be more observant, avoid sudden stops and leave extra space with the car in front of you. As a precaution, do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.
Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade. Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards, such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.