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Mandatory evacuations lifted in Santa Barbara County after storm concern passes

File: In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, a flash flood area sign is posted, as evacuations have been issued for several fire-ravaged communities in Santa Barbara, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
File: In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, a flash flood area sign is posted, as evacuations have been issued for several fire-ravaged communities in Santa Barbara, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP

Mandatory evacuations ordered Monday night near the areas where the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires burned in Santa Barbara County have been lifted, officials said Tuesday morning.

An approaching winter storm led the county to impose the order, which started at 8 p.m. Monday night, in "Extreme Risk" areas.

The decision to lift evacuations was made "in consultation with the National Weather Service and other public safety officials," the county stated in a tweet.

https://twitter.com/countyofsb/status/973613128159293440

The National Weather Service had initially predicted rainfall above the half an inch per hour threshold that can trigger debris flows, but revised that assessment later Tuesday.

https://twitter.com/NWSLosAngeles/status/973607434316107777

The 101 Freeway was being monitored to make sure it remains open to help residents evacuate, according to the county. It was also noted that the storm is expected to arrive during morning rush hour, so people should consider altering their travel and commuting plans.

Officials noted that if the freeway needs to be closed, that would happen just prior to the arrival of the intense portion of the storm.

"Bands of rain, timing and intensity will guide this decision," the county said in its statement.

https://twitter.com/countyofsb/status/973309463842164737

A Red Cross evacuation center was opened at Goleta Valley Community Center.

See the affected areas on this map.

This story has been updated.