Residents of California's Montecito ordered to evacuate 'now'
The town of 9,000 residents is expected to be hit with massive landslides that will engulf its houses and block the roads.
Amid warnings of mudslides, residents of a city in California were ordered to evacuate their homes on Monday as rain levels are expected to reach eight inches within a day.
Following weeks of heavy rain, the hillside town of Montecito hosting 9,000 people is in danger of mudslides that might engulf the houses, firefighters warned.
Montecito is under mandatory evacuation. We are on higher ground so they asked us to shelter in place. Please stay safe everyone. pic.twitter.com/7dv5wfNSzG— Ellen DeGeneres (@EllenDeGeneres) January 9, 2023
"LEAVE NOW! This is a rapidly evolving situation. Please pay close attention to emergency alerts," the website of a fire department said.
The town's emergency authorities called on all residents to get out.
Montecito creek is raging but holding on. Video from @JohnPalminteri #storm pic.twitter.com/V4Ny1jgJ25— Alys Martinez (@AlysMartinezTV) January 9, 2023
Read more: Atmospheric river slams California with record rain
Police had set up roadblocks on its entrances to prevent people from crossing into the town as several roads were flooded by the downpour, an AFP reporter said.
The town has become significantly vulnerable to mudslides following fires in 2017 and 2018 that took out hundreds of kilometers worth of green areas that normally keep the soil intact.
Montecito witnessed five years earlier a massive landslide that resulted in the death of 23 people.
"Over the last 30 days, Montecito has received 12-20+ inches of rain across the community, exceeding our yearly average of 17 inches," the Montecito fire department said in a tweet on Monday.
"This cumulative, saturating rain puts the community at greater risk of flooding and debris flow."
THIS SAYS IT ALL#SantaBarbara #Montecito #Goleta #CAwx pic.twitter.com/JZdWT9YUro— Santa Barbara (@onsantabarbara) January 9, 2023
Earlier today, US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in the state of California and authorized federal assistance to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, save lives, and protect property and public health and safety, the White House said on Monday.
The National Weather Service of the United States reported on Thursday that an atmospheric river was moving toward the country's west coast. California has experienced significant snowfall, heavy rain, and flooding as a result of the storm. Almost 160,000 people were without power on Thursday.
"Two major episodes of heavy rain and heavy mountain snow are expected to impact California in quick succession during the next couple of days in association with two of the more energetic and moisture-laden parade of cyclones that are aiming directly for" the state, the NWS warned.
Read more: When nature 'strikes back', the world floods
The weather service added that the coastal regions of central California might witness on Monday rainfall reaching five inches within 24 hours, noting that the rain will continue throughout Tuesday as well, where Sierra Nevada mountains could be impacted with six feet of snow.
At least 12 people were reported dead due to the ongoing winter storms in California in the past 10 days, according to California's governor Gavin Newsom.
"We expect to see the worst of it still ahead of us," Newsom said to reporters.
Heavy rainfall hit California, bringing flooding to San Francisco and neighboring areas and leading to inundated roads, landslides, and evacuation orders. New Year's Eve saw the second-highest daily rainfall total on record in downtown San Francisco (with records going back to 1949), with 5.46 inches recorded. This is more than 25% of the annual average rainfall and only 0.08 inch short of the all-time record set in November 1994.
Earlier on Sunday, Monitoring service poweroutage.us reported an atmospheric river storm that hit California on the west coast of the United States has left over 500,000 people without power.
The recent heavy rains come as western US states have been experiencing a harsh drought for over two decades, which caused highly frequent and intense wildfires.
However, despite the massive amount of rain, it was not enough to address the drought issue.
According to scientists, the states must experience several years of heavy rain in order to fill back reservoirs to their healthy levels.