MONTECITO (CBSLA) — Residents of Montecito don’t need to hear the rain wasn’t that bad or it could have been worse.
Despite a rain fall that was less than expected, residents still have mudslides on their minds.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige reported from San Ysidro Creek where work crews were using a large excavator to clear out large rocks and boulders in a debris basin.
Veteran Santa Barbara County Firefighter Mike Elliason told Paige it’s important to gauge the force and power of the river and muddy water because it could easily carry the rocks and boulder down hill with it.
Down the hill, of course, is where people walk, live, drive.
“Water is a powerful force you’re not going to stop it and you’re not going to get ahead of it,” Elliason said.
A mandatory evacuation order remained in place throughout the day.
Sal Silva’s family has lived in Montecito for 11 generations. But he had no trouble moving out when the order to evacuate was given.
“It’s not worth it [to stay.] I have a wife, kid, animals. We left it’s not worth it,” Silva said.
Laura Dinning will be back in business on Friday. Her dress shop is in the heart of Montecito.
She told KCAL9’s Tom Wait that she was excited about the next 24 hours.
“I can open my doors tomorrow,” Dinning said.
But Dinning isn’t ever going home. Her house shared the same fate as hundreds of others in Montecito. It was destroyed by the mudslides. “We had to evacuate three times,” she said.
A heartbreaking reality, but she and her family are resilient.
“We’re blessed. We’re safe. Sometimes, this experiences interrupt your thinking about what’s available in life going forward, and you have to just hang on to that,” she said.
Some of the smaller residential roads did flood Thursday but nothing catastrophic.
As this storm clears, the reality of what Montecito still faces is apparent everywhere. Sections of a once picturesque town are still very much in ruins.
“The whole thing is surreal. This time around it really was an eye opener – you knew you had to listen to the officials. If they said get out, get out,” said Alicia Morgan.
At 10 p.m., Wait reported the 101 Freeway was closed in both directions at Mussel Shoals as rocks were starting to fall on the roadway.