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Five Years After Historic Floods, Montecito Feels Better Prepared for Storm

One of the many trouble spots being affected by the storm sweeping through Southern California is Montecito, which is no stranger to severe flooding.

Five years ago to the day deadly mudflows from the Santa Ynez mountains destroyed 65 homes, injured 25 people and killed 23 others.

The historic flooding was caused as a result of the Thomas Fire that at the time was the largest wildfire in California history.

It burned for over a month in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

On Jan. 2, 2018 the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared a Major Disaster over the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties due to the fire.

The fire cleared out acres of vegetation which flattened the land causing the mudslides to flow into nearby neighborhoods.

Crews were sent in to help clear debris and even for some rescue missions to save individuals who were trapped by the mudflow.

Nobody wants that to happen again which is why at the first sign of trouble Santa Barbara officials took action.

Monday morning officials evacuated most of the community in Montecito as the tributaries from the Santa Lucia Mountains flooded neighborhoods.

Hixon Road quickly became Hixon creek.

Some residents evacuated and others like Bill Ekler stayed.

His home is on a rise which helps a lot. Even so he pulled up his drain covers to help move the water.

Many residents have confidence that this time around the county was better prepared.

“All of the creeks were full of boulders and debris before and the last five years all they’ve been doing is clearing creeks,” Ekler said.

But in the low lying neighborhoods there were was still trouble.

Some roads were impassible like those along Montecito Creek.

Ellen DeGeneres took to her Twitter account and posted a video of a creek behind her house overflowing with water and mud.

She also recalled the fire and historic floods that swept through five years ago.

Many neighborhoods in the area have shelter in place orders where officials are asking residents to not leave their homes to avoid more people getting stuck in the rain.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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