California county issues evacuation warnings ahead of latest strong storm

Santa Barbara County, Calif., has issued evacuation warnings ahead of the latest storm set to slam the state this week.

National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters warned of possible flooding, strong winds and potential tornadoes across parts of California. The severe weather could last through Wednesday, with forecasters warning of a moderate risk of excessive rainfall along the coast of southern California on Monday.

Santa Barbara County issued evacuation warnings for properties near waterways in the county, telling residents the warnings could be upgraded to evacuation orders if the storm is severe. Santa Barbara County is under a moderate risk for excessive rainfall, especially over elevated terrain, the NWS warned.

“These EVACUATION WARNINGS are due to an incoming storm with rainfall expected to start tonight Saturday, February 17. However, heavy rainfall is forecast to begin the evening of Sunday, February 18, and can continue in bursts through Wednesday, February 21. This storm has the potential to produce localized flooding, flash flooding and landslides,” the county’s statement read.

Parts of Santa Barbara have already seen wind gusts of up to 55 mph since the storm moved in, according to the weather service.

Some parts of California are projected to get as much as 3-5 inches of rain, putting the area at risk for flooding and landslides just weeks after the region was pummeled by back-to-back storms.

The storm is set to move out quicker than the last pair of storms, weakening by Tuesday. However, flood watches have been issued throughout Southern California through Wednesday. The Sacramento Valley is also under a slight risk of severe thunderstorms and may see an isolated tornado, according to the NWS.

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