Rainstorm Prompts Evacuations in Santa Barbara County Neighborhoods Burned by Thomas Fire

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Several homes have swept from their foundations and residents are unaccounted for as mud flows into Southern California neighborhoods below hillsides scarred by recent wildfires.

Robert Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, is urging residents of Summerland, Carpinteria and Montecito to leave by mid-Monday.

There have also been reports from NBC and others of multiple homes on fire due to a gas explosion. The Monday night forecast for Santa Barbara calls for 25 miles per hour winds gusting to 38 miles per hour out of the southwest and southeast.

The Thomas Fire burns near Fillmore, Calif., on December 8, 2017.

The county has also acquired 40,000 surplus sandbags from the U.S. Defense Department and purchased others to distribute to the public at fire stations. Fire-blackened areas in parts of Southern California have prompted officials to issue evacuation orders ahead of a strong winter storm. A record 3.15 inches (8 centimeters) of rain fell in downtown San Francisco on Monday. No major injuries have been reported.

The National Weather Service has also issued a winter weather advisory for portions of the Sierra Nevada because higher than usual snow levels are expected Tuesday.

A winter weather advisory is in place for mountain areas, where officials warned motorists to prepare for hard travel conditions, including gusty winds, low visibility and snow-covered roads.

This story has been corrected to show a flash flood watch not a warning has been issued. Evacuations were ordered in those foothill neighborhoods Monday because of mudslide fears.

An evacuation center has been set up for displaced residents. "It is important that you understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities", read a statement from Santa Barbara CountySunday night.

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