County and local officials ordered the evacuation of Montecito, one of the most upscale cities in the state, along with nearby towns including Carpinteria, and Toro Canyon, on Monday due to continued concerns over the high volume of rain that has fallen, and continues to fall, and what effects it has been having on the area.
Several bomb cyclone systems have hit California since New Years Day, with evacuations centered on Northern California communities only. However, the most recent storm has brought such an unprecedented amount of water to the Central Coast, around 8 inches in the last 12 hours, that the risk of floods, road washout, mudslides, and other associated disastrous effects became too much for officials on Monday, who ordered an evacuation.
Montecito, which is home to rich and high-profile celebrities such as Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, and numerous Hollywood stars, was the first town to receive evacuation orders, followed by others as the rains worsened. By Monday afternoon, even parts of the City of Santa Barbara began receiving evacuation orders. Other areas also received shelter in place orders due to flash flood concerns, leading to some confusion, which was then ultimately sorted out by County orders.
“IMMEDIATE EVACUATION ORDER issued to the ENTIRE MONTECITO COMMUNITY,” Santa Barbara County tweeted Monday. “Includes all 15 zones of the Montecito Community, all Toro Canyon & Padaro Lane residents in the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District & all residents of Sycamore Canyon in the City of SB and Montecito.”
This was followed up by an updated tweet which stated “Update: Immediate Evacuation Order also issued to all residents of Serena Park area in Carpinteria. Additionally, a SHELTER IN PLACE order is effective for Santa Barbara County impact areas associated with Cave & Alisal.”
IMMEDIATE EVACUATION ORDER issued to the ENTIRE MONTECITO COMMUNITY. Includes all 15 zones of the Montecito Community, all Toro Canyon & Padaro Lane residents in the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District & all residents of Sycamore Canyon in the City of SB and Montecito
— Santa Barbara County (@countyofsb) January 9, 2023
So far, around 10,000 people are now under evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County, joining the 32,000 who have been evacuated from areas of Santa Cruz County already. While officials have said that the order was difficult to decide on, concerns about safety, as well as memories of deadly mudslides in the area only five years prior, tipped their hand on Monday.
“The decision to order an evacuation was based on the continuing high rate of rainfall with no indication that that is going to change before nightfall,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown on Monday. “Creeks were overflowing, and many roads were flooded. Residents unable to flee are being told to move to their innermost room or high ground.”
With so many areas now under evacuation orders, and others expected to either be added for evacuation or shelter in place as rains continue, those in the area on Monday quickly rushed to follow orders.
“This is something that we don’t want to fool around with,” explained Montecito resident and lawyer Monica Wynn to the Globe on Monday. “A lot of my neighbors are pretty well known people, and some of them have resisted orders before. You know, they broke masking rules during COVID and ignored what law enforcement said about parking and other issues in the past. A lot of people carry that sort of attitude. But when it came to this storm, everyone is complying. You can see just how serious it is here, and everyone has been doing exactly what they have been told. That’s how bad these storms are. It put some people who usually don’t follow orders and set them to follow orders.”
Other areas of the state will likely be evacuated in the coming days as rain continues to fall and atmospheric river storms continue to move in.
- Union Representation Dips In California in 2022 - February 3, 2023
- Fifth Circuit Strikes Down CA Ban On Gun Ownership For Certain Domestic Violence Offenders - February 2, 2023
- CPUC Announces 2023 Natural Gas Climate Credit Will Be Applied Two Months Early - February 2, 2023