LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities say a storm headed for California will be most intense early Friday and residents in wildfire burn areas along the coast should be prepared to evacuate.
California storm graphic by MGN.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Wednesday that it's too early to tell if the system will bring enough rain to potentially trigger mudslides.
He says evacuations are recommended in and around Montecito, where 21 people died in a massive mudslide in January.
Officials will monitor forecasts and decide Thursday whether to order residents to leave.
The major storm moving in from the north is predicted to bring heavy snow to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges.
A blizzard warning will be in effect along much of the eastern flank of the Sierra starting Thursday.
A major winter storm heading toward California is expected to bring heavy snow to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade range, and widespread rain elsewhere as it moves south through the state.
The National Weather Service says the storm will begin affecting the state Wednesday afternoon and persist for days.
Northern mountains are expected to receive 3 feet (0.9 meter) to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow, and up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) in localized areas. A blizzard warning will be in effect along much of the eastern flank of the Sierra starting at midmorning Thursday.
In Southern California, authorities have recommended evacuations in some communities on the south Santa Barbara County coast, where Montecito was hit by deadly storm flows in January. Rain is expected there before dawn Friday.
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