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Atmospheric river storm headed toward SoCal; areas scorched by wildfire in Santa Barbara evacuated

The National Weather Service is predicting a strong atmospheric river is headed toward Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday, with periods of heavy rain, flash floods and flooding possible. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office issued an evacuation order for the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire burn areas, warning all residents to leave by 4 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

In Santa Barbara County, the heaviest rain is expected Tuesday night, with between 2-4 inches of rain expected in the area, the National Weather Service said.

In January 2018,  the Santa Barbara-adjacent community of Montecito was ravaged by massive, deadly debris flows when a downpour hit mountains denuded by a devastating fire. At least 20 people were killed.

In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the heaviest rainfall will hit late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, bringing the risk of flooding and debris flows in the Woolsey, Thomas, Hill, Stone, South, Creek and La Tuna burn areas, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Malibu city crews were busy clearing out storm drains and setting up road barriers.

"Expect possible roadway flooding, shallow mud and debris flows especially in the Woolsey Fire burn area, canyon rockfalls, power outages, hazardous road conditions, and potential evacuations," the city of Malibu said in a statement Monday.

 In the wake of November's Woolsey Fire, Malibu residents in the burn area have been forced to evacuate numerous times as a series of storms have pounded the region. Several major coastal and canyon highways, including the Pacific Coast Highway, have been closed by flooding or rockslides.

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