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No injuries reported as evacuation orders are lifted in south Santa Barbara Co.

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Posted at 6:56 AM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 22:54:50-05

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department stayed busy Wednesday night into Thursday morning as a major storm passed through the Central Coast although there were no major incidents, or injuries reported.

Still, Fire Capt. Scott Safechuck says the heavy wind and rain seen throughout Santa Barbara County Wednesday night left several damaged power lines, knocked down trees, and scattered debris on roadways.

Thursday afternoon, Safechuck added that the efforts of county first responders remains in full swing, as they continue working to reopen streets that were closed due to flooding, as well as tend to the multiple vehicle collisions that happened as a result of the storm.

He also advises people in the community to have caution when walking or driving near coastlines, as the tides and strength of waves have picked up considerably.

People are advised to be aware of creek crossings as Safechuck says it only takes 12 inches of water for a car to be swept away. He advises people to also steer clear of creeks, rivers and embankments.

Safechuck says people seemed to have paid attention to evacuation warnings in place for southern Santa Barbara County burn scar areas and most drivers stayed off the roads during the storm, reducing the number of calls that came in.

As to whether future county evacuation orders will be put into place as the rainfall continues, Safechuck says not to rule it out as a possibility.

"We will be continuing to monitor the expected rainfall over the next week here. The ground is very saturated, it is at saturation levels. So, we do have concerns for the future that we need to keep monitoring." Safechuck told KSBY.

Safechuck also says that he would like to express his gratitude for those who responded to the mandatory evacuation orders, adding that he knows it is a big inconvenience, but that it was their top priority to get everyone affected back home as soon as it was safe to do so.