Evacuations are underway for thousands of California residents this week as the biggest storm of the season is expected to drop significant rainfall. Authorities have warned it could bring more havoc to areas that have been recently impacted by the state's largest ever wildfire.
Forecasters are calling for an "atmospheric river" that's expected to soak much of central and southern California over the next few days.
Areas that have recently experienced severe wildfire, such as San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, will see the heaviest rainfall from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles said the most concerning "burn areas" included the Thomas, Whittier, La Tuna, Sherpa, Fish and Sand.
Ahead of the storm, thousands have already left coastal southern California to avoid possible mudslides. This winter's historic wildfires left the California coastline vulnerable since it burned away grass and shrubs.
"We understand the process of evacuating is tiring and frustrating, and we know that it is an extraordinary hardship on everyone being asked to leave their homes or to close their businesses once again," Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County said at a press conference, according to KNBC.
The sheriff warned that while residents will not be "forcibly removed," he strongly warned them to put their safety first as mandatory mandatory evacuations went into effect at noon on Tuesday.
In Ventura County, mandatory and voluntary evacuations were ordered.
For county-specific emergency information, visit:
Santa Barbara County
San Luis Obispo
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