MONTECITO, Calif. (FOX 11) - The 101 Freeway is expected to remain closed through Monday afternoon, according to officials.
The freeway has been closed since Tuesday's storm slammed the area with mud and debris.
Seventeen people have been confirmed dead and eight others are still missing.
The mudslides were already occurring when Santa Barbara County officials first sent emergency alerts to cellphones in the area, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
For days, the county had issued repeated warnings via social media, news media and emails about the potential for mudslides. But county emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to use the cellphone push alert system until 3:50 a.m. Tuesday out of concern it might not be taken seriously.
Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.
It could take days or even longer before the work is finished.
In 2014, a mudslide in rural Oso in Washington state killed 43 people. The last body was found four months later.