MONTECITO, Calif. - Nation Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Eric Boldt used a baseball analogy to describe the incoming storm.
"This will be a minor league storm not a major league storm like we saw on January 9th, but we have to be careful because minor leaguers can sometimes hit it out of the park. So we are expecting the storm to start impacting the area Thursday afternoon we will start to see a little light rain and then the intensity will start to pick up after midnight. So, right now our main concern is for the intensities to increase after midnight Thursday night and continue until 6 or 7 in the morning on Friday, " said Boldt.
Boldt drove up from the NWS headquarters in Oxnard on Wednesday to speak at a Storm Readiness news conference at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Bill Brown said evacuations several times year will be the new normal in Montecito until the vegetation destroyed in the Thomas Fire grows back.
Santa Barbara Supervisor Das Williams said, "It's not our job to gamble with people's lives, it's our job to give people the best information we can."
Williams lives in a designated red zone and plans to evacuate his family to a friend's home in Santa Barbara on Thursday.
Rob Lewin the director of the Office of Emergency Management ,and former San Luis Obispo Fire Chief said, "As we all learned on the 1-9 debris flow that we had one storm predicted and then we ended up with a storm that much stronger, a 200 year event, we had never seen any prediction that said that."
The storm is blamed on 21 deaths. Two children are still missing.
Sheriff Brown said they could still be found.
Officials wants people in Montecito and Carpinteria to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.
Eric Boldt said thunderstorms are not in the forecast but half an inch of rain an hour could lead to muddy water.
Sheriff Brown said a water rescue crews from out of town will be arriving to help.
Lewin said a 6 a.m. briefing followed by an 8a.m. meeting Thursday could lead to a mandatory evacuation announcement.
"We made a promise to the community we would not be evacuate unnecessarily and that we would evacuate when it is necessary, so we are trying to take this pause to wait for the best data we can get,
Right now we have a predicted storm, it is close to requiring an evacuation, but maybe it won't, " said Lewin.