Southern California’s recovery from half a dozen major infernos, including the state’s largest wildfire in history, is not going well, to say the least. Some much needed rain has transformed into a downpour, and the torched soil is unable to absorb inches of fast-falling precipitation. As a result, dangerous mudslides have not only forced over 20,000 residents to evacuate but have turned deadly.
CNN reports that at least 6 people have died in what the LA Times is describing as “waist-high” mudflows in some areas. In addition, several homes have been swept from their foundations with Montecito in Santa Barbara County remaining the most heavily affected, per ABC News:
In the affluent community of Montecito, some homes have been ripped from their foundations as a result of the torrential conditions. Montecito alone saw heavy rainfall in a short amount of time. About a third of the rain that has fallen in the last 24 hours in Montecito fell in just 5 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.
Local fire officials reported rescuing several people in the area, including a mother and her daughter who were caked in mud.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason tells the LA Times that these mudslides represent the “worst-case scenario” after the containment of the blazes (especially the Thomas Fire), and he predicts that the continuing onslaught will be “worse than anyone imagined for our area.” CNN reports that emergency crews have rescued at least 50 people in Santa Barbara County while parts of coastal U.S. Route 101 remain closed, and power outages persist throughout the area. These dramatic photos and videos show the damage in process, and below, firefighters save a young girl’s life.
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) January 9, 2018