MONTECITO, CA (FOX 11) - What happened in Montecito in January has changed everything. We've had devastating storms before, but nothing like what we saw there. As an abundance of caution, they put mandatory evacuations into effect twice since then, but just as quickly they are lifted when conditions allow.
Coastal resident Michael Mellon said, "You know, we've really dodged bullets. We could've had the same storm and the same amount of rain compressed into time, and again it would've done damage."
Mellon and others are relieved that the rain has been very light in Montecito, and none of the rain has been intense enough to move the earth below them. So, the mandatory evacuations from Monday night were lifted by 10:30am Tuesday morning.
Captain Dave Zaniboni from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told FOX 11 News, "If we are predicted to have an isolated area that could possibly see more than half an inch of rain an hour, that's the threshold that triggers a possibility of a moderate to severe mud or debris flow. So, that was the reason for doing the mandatory evacuations in our red zones on the map last night."
In Ventura County, where the Thomas Fire devastated so much in December creating the conditions that led to January's killer mudslides farther north, the rain was steady but falling on blackened earth, interrupted by patches of green grass.
Santa Barbara County officials have created a website called ReadySBC.org, which is a great resource of information for those living in the affected areas, and you can register for alerts and search through lots of other weather related information.