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Santa Barbara County faces flood threat

March 20, 2011 |  3:00 pm

Santa Barbara County officials were releasing additional water from Cachuma Lake dam to avoid flooding as the area was inundated with rain Sunday.

“We have received a large amount of rain — we’re talking about 10 inches of rain around the Cachuma area,” said Michael Harris, Santa Barbara County's emergency operations chief.

Rain gauges showed rainfall up to 10.54 inches along the Santa Ynez River during the last 48 hours.

After the county activated its emergency operations center Sunday, officials decided to increase the amount of water released from Cachuma Lake's dam from 10,000 to 15,000 cubic feet per second.

“It may have to go even higher than that,” Harris said.

He said officials were concerned that about a dozen homes downstream of the lake on the Santa Ynez River west of Lompoc were at risk of flooding late Sunday. Lompoc is about 54 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.

“It’s sparsely populated, but we’ll be talking to some of the residents,” Harris said.

Harris stressed that Lompoc and Santa Barbara were not at risk of flooding Sunday afternoon, and no major flooding or flood-related injuries had been reported. 

RELATED:

First day of spring brings record rainfall

Roads closed amid flooding, snow, mudflows from heavy rains

A dozen homes evacuated in Woodland Hills; flooding closes streets

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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