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California: mudslides

US – Mudslides (Upd. 1) – Montecito, Calif.
Environment alert for Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California, Santa Barbara, California (Jan 10, 2018 6:29 PM – Jan 11, 2018 11:59 PM)
Summary
Emergency crews are working to clear debris flows that resulted from flash flooding in the Montecito, California area on Jan. 9. Police have confirmed that at least 15 people were killed and two dozen injured from the mudslides near the Thomas Fire burn complex in Santa Barbara County. Search and rescue operations are ongoing throughout the area, and the death toll could rise. Police have received dozens of missing persons reports since the flooding began. As of Jan. 10, rainfall has subsided over the fire burn area, which will help personnel conduct recovery efforts.

The following mandatory evacuation areas in Santa Barbara County affect approximately 7,000 people:
• Unincorporated parts of Santa Barbara County, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria (including areas north of SR-192, east of Cold Springs Road, and west of SR-150/county line)
• Communities along Tecolote Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, and Gato Canyon
• Areas in the vicinity of the Whittier Fire burn complex near Goleta

In an attempt to facilitate the recovery efforts in the Montecito area, Santa Barbara County officials have established a public safety exclusion zone. The zone comprises the area west of Sheffield Drive, East Valley Road, and Ladera Lane; east of Olive Mill and Hot Springs Road; north of the Pacific Ocean; and south of the US Forest Service boundary. Residents within this zone are able to shelter-in-place, but are prohibited from leaving their homes. Violators of this policy are subject to arrest.

The Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management has cut power, natural gas, potable water, and sanitation to a majority of the Montecito area for safety reasons as of the evening of Jan. 9. The cuts are estimated to have impacted at least 3,500 residents; it will probably take several days for crews to assess the structural integrity of utility transmission networks and restore services.

Transport
The flooding and mudslides have resulted in ground transport disruptions throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. As of early Jan. 10, the following roads remain closed due to mudslides:

o Incident: Mudslides
o Location: Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, California (map)
o Start Date: Jan. 9
o Impact: Road closures; transport disruptions; evacuations; power outages

US 101: Closed from the SR-126 junction in Ventura to South Milpas Street in Santa Barbara
• SR-33: Closed between Fairview Road (in Ojai) to Lockwood Valley Road (in Los Padres National Forest; southbound connector to US 101 closed in Ventura
• SR-150: Closed from the SR-192 junction to Santa Ana Canyon Road in Ventura County
• SR-192: Closed from the SR-144 junction to the SR-150 junction in Santa Barbara County
• Numerous local roads in the Montecito area

US 101 is not expected to reopen to traffic until the evening of Jan. 11 at the earliest, and could be closed even longer depending on the time it takes to clear debris and mud. The closure of the highway has prompted significant detours for traffic driving between Santa Barbara and Ventura, with the shortest alternative route between the two cities utilizing a roughly 435-mile (270-mile) detour via I-5 through Kern County.

The main Union Pacific rail line through Montecito has been blocked by the mudslides, suspending rail traffic between Santa Barbara and Oxnard. The closure is impacting freight rail and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight services in the region. Union Pacific officials have given no estimated time frame for the reopening of the rail line. Personnel will need to clear debris, assess track conditions, and make any necessary repairs to damages sustained during the flooding prior to resuming service.

Advice
Adhere to mandatory evacuation orders and exclusion zones. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellphones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Stockpile potable water due to possible prolonged utility outages. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where mudslides have occurred. Plan for likely supply chain disruptions if routing shipments through the Montecito area via truck or rail. Do not attempt to navigate flooded or blocked roadways.

Resources
California Road Conditions:quickmap.dot.ca.gov
Santa Barbara County Emergency Information:www.countyofsb.org
Ventura County Emergency Information:www.vcemergency.com
Southern California Edison:www.sce.com

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