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Cleanup continues after intense snow, hail and flooding soak Montecito

MONTECITO, Calif. - Montecito has been the target of intense weather once again. The community that's seen deadly mudslides in the past, was soaked again by extreme conditions Saturday night, leading to what could be days of cleanup plans.

Video clips from citizens in the area showed a river of water in the k-rail bordered section of Highway 101 around San Ysidro Road. Cars were plowing through but not all made it. Some were stalled out an drivers were stranded.

The California Highway Patrol made some rescues in the perilous conditions and Caltrans closed the section in both directions Saturday night until the water drained off. Hundreds of cars were turned around and headed to side streets were there was a mess with both traffic and storm related muck.

Ortega Hill Road had several small landslides with rocks and trees, forcing a closure in two directions. It is a connector from Montecito to Summerland.

The storm also sent rushing waters in both known and small seasonal drainages at a high rate.

The powerful cells had embedded hail and snow that fell along the coast in what will be an Easter weekend not to be forgotten by residents who saw it. The skies had flashes of lighting and growling thunder during the peak periods from about 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Santa Barbara County Public Works crews are responding to cleanup calls with heavy equipment to clear the slides and cut up the trees.

Montecito area resident Mike Clark and his son John had to mobilize in the storm when a small quiet creek came alive with gushing water. That went towards a channel to the street but also towards other rustic structures where sand bags were up.

"If we cut a path through there (bamboo) and we sand bag higher on the barn side that should force water away from the building which is what we wanted, "   he said. But the rain was as hard as he could remember. "Oh man we were starting to feel helpless at that point when it was breached on both sides and over flowing the bridge we started to feel  we were kind of  at mother nature's whim, " he said.

Some water got through and moved a few bags. Clark said, "the water level was rising, coming all the way from the back of the kitchen  to the stairs."

The damaging rain let up just in time.

Mike Clark said, "it took about a half an hour -45 minutes to where that water could drain out and we could see the kitchen floor again."  

In Santa Barbara, two historic Italian stone pines were down on Anapamu street between Milpas St. and Santa Barbara High school. The line of these trees are estimated to be over 100 years old.

No serious injuries were reported.

The three day rainfall totals for Montecito hit 5.02 inches. The Montecito Fire Protection District says 1.81 inches of rain fell in the span of one hour from 8:15-9:15 p.m. Firefighters responded to numerous residences with flooding damage, wires down, fallen trees and gas leaks throughout Montecito.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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