MALIBU (CBSLA) – With yet another large storm system bearing down on Southern California region Tuesday, Santa Barbara County has already issued mandatory evacuations for several burn areas, while in Malibu, officials are preparing for possible mudslides in the Woolsey Fire burn zone.
The storm front is expected to bring heavy rainfall beginning Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning as it moves across the region, according to the National Weather Service, with rainfall rates of up to 0.8 inches per hour.
In Santa Barbara County, the heaviest rain is expected Tuesday night and could create problems in the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire burn areas. The county issued a mandatory evacuation in those areas beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the heaviest rainfall will hit late Tuesday night and continue into Wednesday morning, bringing the risk of flooding and debris flows in the Woolsey, Thomas, Hill, Stone, South, Creek and La Tuna burn areas.
Malibu city crews were busy clearing out storm drains and setting up K-rails.
“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.
A flash flood watch is in effect from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 11 a.m. Wednesday for most of L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
For Santa Barbara residents, a Red Cross evacuation Center will open at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Goleta Valley Community Center. Malibu residents, meanwhile, can pick up free, empty sandbags at area L.A. County Fire stations.
The 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire broke out south of Simi Valley on Nov. 8. It then jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas and spread into Malibu. The fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and was responsible for three deaths. It was not fully contained until Nov. 21.
In December of 2017, the Thomas Fire broke out near Thomas Aquinas College in Ventura County. It burned more than 281,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties over about six weeks. Two people were killed, including a state firefighter. The flames destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.