The director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management called the recent rain “nice and gentle.”
Rob Lewin said it will help plants damaged in the Thomas and Whittier Fires grow back.
Those plants are needed to prevent future debris flows like the one that led to 23 deaths on January 9, in Montecito.
Lewin said the rain didn’t come close to meeting the U.S. Geological Survey’s new rainfall rate threshold used to determine the likelihood of debris flows near recent burn areas. Recent growth helped meteorogolists raise the rate from .50 inches per hour to .80 inches per hour. Lewin remains cautious. He said the mountains are still “locked and loaded” with rocks ready to come down during an intense storm.
Emergency leadership teams plan to hold community meetings in Carpinteria and Montecito to discuss simpler modified notification plans and new interactive maps.
Lewin said there may not be as many evacuations this fall and winter but he said people still need to be vigilant.