Santa Barbara announces evacuations for more than 20,000 ahead of storm

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office held a press conference on Thursday to discuss mandatory evacuations for the county.

The evacuations affect three burn areas and the areas below them from January's Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires. County sheriffs said that about 22,000 people live in the regions, but that the evacuations would impact closer to 25,000 or 30,000 people when factoring in those who come and go from the area daily.

Sheriff Bill Brown encouraged residents to "proceed in an orderly fashion" and to have left the area by nightfall on Thursday -- the official order tells people to leave by 6 p.m. The storm isn't expected to touch down until late tonight and early Friday.

The evacuations come on the heels of deadly mudflows that killed 21 people in Montecito following the fires two months ago. They affect the coastal communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpenteria and Summerland.

The Red Cross has established an evacuation center at Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. Earl Warren Showgrounds is also accepting large animals. For assistance evacuating large and small animals, contact Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.

Find a live evacuation map here.