Around the 3 a.m. hour on Tuesday, January 8, a massive mudslide swept down the hills through the cities of Carpinteria, Montecito and Summerland, with Montecito getting hit the hardest. Some of the slide made it all the way down to the beach area, carrying not just people but debris and vehicles.
Although I live in Oxnard, Montecito is where my dentist, a couple of my accounts are and the coffee shop I stop at. I also know a few people in this city. I cannot begin to tell you how heartbroken and devastated I am for these surrounding communities. On average, I travel up there 1 – 2 times a week. There are many people that are missing and lives that have been lost because of this, in both mandatory and voluntary evacuation areas. You can see the map below or click here. As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, all of Montecito that was in the Public Notice Zone was ordered to mandatory evacuate for a week or more due to clean-up, utility maintenance and rescue operations. They allowed people to go back into their homes the week of January 22.
I am not going to be updating this post as often like I did with the Thomas Fire. What I will say is I will be up in Montecito next Wednesday, January 17, as I coincidentally have my dental appointment after work. I will snap photos of the impact during that time of what I see.
UPDATE: My dental appointment did not happen that day and luckily when businesses opened last week on January 24, I was able to get an appointment that day. A normal 45 minute drive took me 1 hour and 20 minutes because of an excess of cars, mud trucks, semi trucks and emergency vehicles combined with inaccurate traffic apps leading people to closed off roads, construction, gawkers looking at the mud and boulders, semi trucks carrying delayed business goods and people trying to get to work.
All I can say is when I got to Montecito it was heartbreaking to see all of the mud and large boulders everywhere. The road my dentist’s office is on you can only access one way now. The community is hopeful and slowly coming together to rebuild a new life.
There are also some excellent and very reliable resources that you can keep up with:
Montecito Community Thomas Fire Update. This really is the best group to see who is missing and where the First Responders are being dispatched to. There is also a lot of raw yet honest information. The staging area for this group I believe is at the Vons market off Coast Village Road.
Montecito Disaster Map. Frequently updated to show the number of fatalities, evacuation requests, homes destroyed or damaged, welfare check requests and residents reported missing.
County of Santa Barbara. This website provides resources about recovery information, evacuation resources, school closures and anything related to the storm.
EdHat Santa Barbara. They update the number of deaths, homes destroyed/damaged, missing people and the injured. They also have scanner reports and public news. Last I read today was 21 fatalities, 2 missing people, 28 injured, 73 homes destroyed and 466 homes damaged and 30 square miles affected.
KEYT. It is the local news station in Santa Barbara. Everyone in town watches them, it’s actually the last station I worked at many years ago! They are streaming live not just their newscasts but press conferences as well.
Noozhawk. Another great online news source with up-to-date information and powerful photos.
Caltrans District 5. They serve the areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties and provide up-to-date road closure and road reopening information. Check out their Twitter page! The 101 reopened at noon on January 12.
Safe and Well. This is through the American Red Cross. If you know of someone that was impacted by the mudslide or it was yourself, please go to the Safe and Well website and register so that friends and family can check on your status! Another FYI: the American Red Cross’ shelter is at Santa Barbara City College.
Until then, god bless everyone in Santa Barbara County, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time, and thank you First Responders for your hard efforts. Below are some photos from Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Mike Eliason. The second to last one with the mudslide victims in the truck was taken by the LA Times and the last one with the cars on the beach has been circling the Facebook Newsfeed with credit unknown.
This picture is by artist Pedro De La Cruz. God bless!