The Latest: Santa Barbara County lifts evacuations
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a series of California and Nevada storms (all times local):
Santa Barbara County, scene of a devastating fire and a deadly mudslide last year, has lifted mandatory evacuation orders that drove thousands of people from Montecito and surrounding areas.
The city says a storm that swept Southern California Tuesday didn’t produce rain heavy enough to send mud and debris from fire regions sweeping down canyons into neighborhoods. The evacuations were lifted at 6 p.m.
Another rainstorm expected to hit Wednesday also isn’t expected to produce major problems.
However, mandatory evacuations remain for parts of the Malibu area hit by November’s Woolsey Fire. Some areas of Ventura County hit by the same fire are under voluntary evacuation requests.
A rare blizzard warning has been issued for much of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe beginning Wednesday evening.
National Weather Service forecasters in Reno said Tuesday as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow is now possible in the upper elevations around Tahoe Wednesday night into Thursday, with winds gusting up to 110 mph (177 kph) over the ridge tops.
They say dangerous and potentially life-threatening blizzard conditions are forecast at elevations above 7,000 feet (2,133 meters), with high avalanche danger throughout the region.
Between 8 and 18 inches (20 and 45 centimeters) of snow is expected at lake level at Tahoe. Up to 6 inches (15 cm) is forecast for the valley floors around Reno and Carson City.
The Sierra blizzard warning runs from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
A series of winter weather advisories and storm warnings begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Forecasters say a big winter storm is headed for the Sierra and much of northern Nevada, with snowfall possible on valley floors beginning late Tuesday and blizzard conditions expected in the mountains by Thursday.
The National Weather Service in Reno says as much as 4 feet (1.2 meters) of new snow is possible in the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe into Thursday.
Weather watches are set for the Tahoe area into Thursday night.
Two to 4 feet (61 to 122 centimeters) of snow is possible Wednesday night and Thursday above 7,000 feet (2,133 meters).
The weather service says travel could be difficult to impossible later Wednesday through Thursday with periods of white-out conditions possible.
Mandatory evacuation orders are going into effect for many areas near Southern California wildfire burn scars as another Pacific storm approaches the rain-soaked region.
The National Weather Service says light-to-moderate rain Tuesday will become heavier with possible thunderstorms later in the day, bringing potential for flash flooding in burn areas.
Evacuation orders issued in advance cover portions of Malibu and Santa Barbara County, where a year ago the community of Montecito was devastated by a deadly debris flow.
Suburban Burbank also plans to put mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders into effect.
A mudslide Monday in the Encino area of Los Angeles has put about a dozen homes at risk.
Caltrans says sections of Highway 1 on the Central Coast are closed due to adverse weather. Major highways through mountain passes north and east of Los Angeles remain open.
Many Southern California areas hit by wildfires in recent months are under evacuation orders as Pacific storms threaten to unleash flows of mud, boulders and debris.
Voluntary and mandatory evacuations were ordered through Tuesday morning from Santa Barbara County down to Los Angeles County. Hundreds of homes are affected.
Authorities are afraid that the incoming storm will dump enough rain in a short time to send the bare soil sluicing down on foothill communities. In Santa Barbara County, there also were concerns that roads might become impassable and strand people in the town of Montecito, which a year ago was inundated by a mudslide that killed 23 people.
Storms are expected to douse the area with rain and snow through Thursday.