California Highway Patrol gears up for potential freeway closure as storm approaches

California Highway Patrol gears up for potential freeway closure

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Thursday’s storm has the potential to bring debris flow to areas hit by the Thomas Fire so if mandatory evacuations are put in place, the California Highway Patrol will close a section of U.S. Highway 101.

“If you have to close the freeway it's ultimately for the public's safety,” said CHP Officer Jonathan Gutierrez.

If the CHP makes a call for a partial closure, Highway 101 will be closed from the Milpas Street exit in Santa Barbara to Highway 150 out in the Carpinteria area.

“Right now, we are looking at the rain forecast and if the storm meets the threshold to cause debris flow, the rate would be half inch per hour, so if it meets that then the CHP would make a decision to close the 101,” said Gutierrez.

As meteorologists, emergency responders and officers continue to watch the forecast, travelers are gearing up.

“I think it's terribly inconvenient and I feel badly for people who are affected, but if it’s to try to keep people safer or save lives, I think you have to have some kind of perspective about that,” said Erica Bourdens.

Gutierrez says officers at the CHP are watching the forecast closely and re-evaluating every few hours.

“We would try to give people as much time as possible but ultimately it would just depend on when the rain is going to hit and how much rain is going to hit,” said Gutierrez.

California Highway Patrol is ready to act not just Thursday, but for the foreseeable future.

“For the next couple of years we’re going to have to go through this process,” said Gutierrez. “Community safety is our most important thing we are looking out for.”

For the latest information regarding any closures visit

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