Rescuers Search for Victims of Mudslides While Crews Cleanup Everything From Hwy 101 to Homes in Santa Barbara County

With 17 people dead and more missing, Cal OES, California’s Office of Emergency Services, in the video above offers insight into the cause and what occurred when heavy rainfall pounded earth scorched bare by a devastating fire in Santa Barbara County.

If you haven’t been following this story closely, some of the video clips are astounding.



  • Thanks again. Much information that is useful.

  • Not a peta person

    I may be wrong but it feels like I recall many mudslide events in the coastal LA area over my lifetime.

    • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

      Quite so. There was that huge one a decade or so ago in Carpenteria, I think, just South of the current strife in Montecito, where the hillside came down and buried a neighborhood.


  • After viewing crazy footage of Montecito where I grew up get wiped out,
    I wonder how so much building in front of these mountain ravines in the past 50 years
    escaped the attention of sound minded people?
    Rich or poor mud will equally destroy it all.

    • Much of California is an inherently unstable place geologically. Much of Humboldt Co is on unstable ground and/or living below unstable ground. It is subject to floods, earthquates and fires. Yet would people support restriction on building when it makes housing unaffordable?

      • People in Santa Barbara used to support a complete, no-growth policy that banned all new water hook-ups, effectively stopping real estate development. That was in the 70’s and 80’s, but the pressure to grow was too much and that ban has been over for awhile. The desalination plant they built down there helped end the ban but not the mudslides, fires, floods, earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, etc.

        • This is one of the oldest and richest neighborhoods along the south coast where this damage occurred, growth has about nothing to do with it.
          There has been little infill there, it has been built out for decades and most development has been upsizing existing mansions for bigger ones, but the core several sq miles has been stable development wise.
          Little growth in the hills except for ridge top 150000 sq ft castles and other idiocies that have nothing to do with flooding.
          The community where the damage occured is all on a flood plain created over the millennia, as is the entire E-W South Coast.

          The fire damaged the soil above in the steep hillsides all the way up to the 3500′ ridgeline, listen to the video at about 9 minutes.

          That rain rate was 1/2″ in one minute covering the vast watershed above. …rates of 6-12″ per hour are pretty deadly. The downpour tapered off to ‘just’ heavy rain and finally stopped two hours later.

          Any place will have a flash flood from that, even if unburned, but with the soil too damaged this was feared and predicted.
          Unfortunately it was not heeded by enough people, with residents and officials exhausted and still reeling from the weeks of Thomas Fire evacuations, threats and warnings. Flood planning was almost done but the evacuation warnings, systems, maps, and media were not complete and relied instead on the fire evacuation areas which were exactly 90 degrees from the true threat…so people at lower elevations felt safe enough to ignore the evac orders..mandatory or warnings. Major recriminations are brewing…so far the subtle blame the residents is the framing of the issue, but that won’t last for long.
          The Thomas Fire was basically Edison’s fault with transformer explosions following high wind tree falls on a drought impaired landscape. It was just declared 100% contained today.

          This area that flooded in Montecito is below about four major canyons, funneled down into several creeks that overflowed and stopped up, with debris filling precleared debris basins and culverts.

          The flood of mud and boulders scoured out the creek channels and overtopped the banks and took the easiest path down the roads with houses getting the boulders and cars and trees smashed into them.
          The rain rate lasted several minutes, then was just heavy instead of torrential for another hour or two.

          The moving earth shattered the water and reservoir infrastructure and sheared of gas lines causing explosions and fires which were unable to be tended to and burned themselves out with several houses involved. Any phone pole in the path was toppled, lines were snapped by falling trees and moving houses.
          You need to look carefully at the video to appreciate the huge amounts of boulders and the size of some of them, 6-8′ x 10-12′ can be seen, tumbling down the creeks and then out of the creek and down the road and thru houses.

          The mudflow with bodies and boulders went across the freeway overpass to the beach beyond and left a four foot high debris pile on the railroad tracks.
          It severely damaged all the major iconic rich folks resorts and institutions there…Biltmore, Casa De Maria, Miramar, Coral Casino, Montecito Inn and all the smaller businesses along Coast Village Road, the untouched survivors now stranded and now locked out because of the going to be weeks long cleanup, search, infrastructure destruction…all utilities are ruined, all the roads are covered if not washed out, bridges missing or damaged. Massive area is now mandatory/arrest with all residents removed and locked out.
          The rain with the orographic flow effect (stalling against mountains and then just dropping massively…it could have been west of there and almost done the same damage to Goleta or Santa Barbara, except the fires there were not so recent and so soil damaging as the Thomas fire was.

          Edhat, Noozhawk and the SB Independent are the three good online places to follow the story, flawed as they are, but…
          Latest tonight is the deceased count is up to 18, an 87 year old man was found today in his home. The missing list has been reduced to only 6 now….but very sad as they are the relatives of known deceased or injured people.
          I have met a lot of people in Humboldt who have lived in Santa Barbara previously, like me, they often have friends and family there still.

          It was one of the quietest safest richest neighborhoods in the US.

          I can’t wait to get back home to Humboldt, this place is a wreck!

    • Unfortunately there are homes being built all over CA where they dont belong, in areas prone to all sorts of issues, but a lot of people think they should be able to live wherever they want especially if they have the money. Look at the homes on the beaches in Malibu, they cry when the ocean takes out their house, what did they think was going to happen?
      There are just way too many people in the southern half of our state and greedy developers who either pay off officials or get friends placed in positions of power to get their buildings done.
      It’s not rocket science, if you build a house in a flood plain youre probably going to see a flood!

      And right now whether you think climate change is real or not, the fact is the oceans on both coasts have risen in temperature which affects pretty much everything. Its a simple scientific model and as we know every action has a reaction. There have been mud slide events like this all over the world in the last 6 months.

      I still dont get why they let people stay in their homes, it was their choice. Everyone knows what happens to fresh burn areas in a large rainfall event.
      It seems a lot of folks have forgotten the power of nature. She bats last.

  • Always listening to bs

    Because we’re a sanctuary state does this mean Trump going to block federal assistance.

  • No he may think hes allowed to do that but hes not.
    In case you hadn’t noticed, pretty much everything he says hes gonna do doesnt happen. He has dementia for real, and thinks hes running a business where his word is final. Thats why they wont release his medical report.

    Lets elect someone who actually knows how government works next time and who shows up for work before 11am and who can repeat back to advisors whst he was just told, which his own advisors say he cannot do. Our country looks so weak right now its terrifying.

    • It’s like listening to a group of teens having a serious discussion about a celebrity. First one invents a scenario out of nothing but their own little brains. The next thinks its worth discussion and then third thinks it’s true and spreads it far and wide. And it all exists only because they spend their life in a made up world that they see as more worthwhile than their own lives.

      It’s so pointless that it soon become just a background white noise. True or not, no one hears it any longer.

  • A sad situation, for sure. Growing up in So Cal, I watched them tear down, and cut into, hillsides everywhere to build homes for the rich. They love these areas, and pay big money to live there. You take away the integrity of a mountain, and that mountain will crumble. These disasters are a matter of time before they happen. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this is inevitable. Just as all our creeks and rivers are silted in due to bad logging practices on the hillsides around those creeks and rivers.

  • This is far southern Santa Barbara County, almost Ventura County, and very different from the north county similar to the difference between Northern and Southern Humboldt. The closest town, Montecito, is an ultra rich playground of the Hollywood crowd and anyone else who has a ton of money. No matter who it effected this was a terrible natural disaster: drowning in mud is a bad way to leave this life.

  • So sad and horrifying. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I hope and pray they’re able to get to all the survivors in time.

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