California residents have experienced the worst over the past year. With numerous fires, as well as a deadly mudslide, west-coast locals are forced to take precautionary measures during intense weather conditions. While normal sunshine and rainfall are of normal routine, this natural occurrence has caused many residents at a state of terror. Even with this week’s rain storm sweeping Southern California, over 30,000 residents were caused to evacuate just in case another mudslide impacts the region.
The winter storm was expected to fall beginning late Thursday evening, to 8 am Friday, March 2nd. The raging storm hails from the pacific coast, expecting to trigger violent flash floods. Officials are afraid the severe rainfall may cause another occurrence of excess debris and mudflow to impact the once-affected areas.
What sparked the mudslide earlier this year? While there were many fires contributing to Southern California, the record-breaking Thomas Fire was the one to scorch the area in deep burns and scars. Since massive vegetation was lost during the record-breaking fire, the heavy rainfall had caused mud to form from the loose debris that was leftover. Since no vegetation was in place to absorb the rainfall (as it did in the past), the once-scorched surface of the earth had turned all its debris into massive sludges of mud.
Given the tragic mudslide that killed at least 21 people earlier this year, officials have set mandatory evacuation orders in hopes of preventing another tragedy. Mandatory evacuation orders were dispersed all throughout Montecito and Ventura counties. Some voluntary evacuation orders were also set, but were later lifted around 7 am, Friday morning. An additional road closure has been set on highway 33, via Fairview road.
The evacuation orders were placed into effect in the areas where violent rains unraveled on January 9th, unleashing boulders, pounds and pounds of mud, and other debris that claimed the lives of 21 nearby souls. Not only were family members lost, but properties suffered, as well. The areas were evacuation orders were released were in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, parts of Goleta,and Gaviota.
Residents in the affected areas were asked to leave their home promptly at 6 pm Thursday evening. While the rainfall is only estimated to be about one-third of the rainfall that occurred during the mudslide, the region wanted to prepare in case flash-floods become more intense. As of around 10 am Friday morning, the evacuation orders had been lifted. This was primarily due to minimal impact of the incoming rainfall.
Any residents who refused to leave their home during the evacuation orders, were also advised they would be responsible for their own well-being throughout the duration of the evacuation event. In spite of this, a nearby American Red Cross emergency center has opened its doors to anyone in the area that has nowhere to go during the storm. The Red Cross can be found at the Earl Warren Showgrounds via 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara County. For those who need assistance with evacuating their loved animals, please contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Services. They can be reached at their hotline, (805) 681-4332.
While Montecito and Santa Barbara have been home to families, children, and even celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, the storm falls short for no one. If you, or someone you love has encountered property damage from the recent storm, mudslide, or fire, give our firm a call. Here, we can help you seek proper recovery options. Don’t Settle for Less.
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— Jack Ter-Saakyan, Esq.
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