Santa Barbara County officials issue mandatory evacuations

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Severe weather is expected to hit Santa Barbara County by the middle of the week.

Santa Barbara County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for high-risk debris flow areas ahead of a mid-week storm in California.

"We have no choice but do to this," said Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown. "It's not worth risking lives to avoid evacuation."

The evacuation is effective Tuesday at 12 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (3 p.m. on the East Coast) for burn areas near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires.

Those in impacted areas have until 5 p.m. PST Tuesday to evacuate, Brown said.

According to Rob Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, the storm may cause severe flooding and mudflow. The National Weather Service predicts between 5 and 10 inches of rain in the foothills and mountains, reaching between half an inch to three-quarters of an inch per hour.