A Year Ago, Montecito Debris Flows Brought ‘Unfathomable Destruction’ to Coastal Community
Residents and first responders recall and reflect on the fateful Jan. 9 events that reshaped their world. A year ago, 23 people were killed in Montecito when massive debris flows crashed through the community in the dark of night, destroying nearly everything in their paths. Homes were ripped apart, a massive search-and-rescue effort saved residents from the mud, boulders and debris, and the destruction was so extensive that the bodies of two victims still have not been found. In the day or so preceding the rainstorm that brought down the mountains, Santa Barbara County declared a local emergency; areas ravaged by December's Thomas Fire were vulnerable to floods, mudslides and debris flows.