In addition to destroying 100 homes, the debris flow from the mudslides has damaged hundreds of other structures, officials said. This type of soil can not absorb water as easily, making the region more vulnerable to mudslides during heavy rains-such as the ones that dumped five inches of rain on parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties this week.
Late Tuesday, officials said they expected Highway 101 to be closed for at least until Thursday.
Aware of these environmental trends, officials warned about the potential of mudslides on local government websites and social media, as well as in news outlets and community emails.
Another emergency management official told the Los Angeles Times that county officials decided not to use the its push alert system to cellphones earlier out of concern that it might not be taken seriously.
"I guess this is going to be it for me, right here", he said he thought, but the auto got traction just in time to avoid a crash.
"They're finding people and bodies and I mean, you hear the word mudslide and you have no idea the impact that it has, but after the largest fire in California history, it's catastrophic".
In the case of the mudslides, evacuation is made more hard by the complexities of geology, said Lucy Jones, one of California's top experts on earthquakes and other natural disasters. More than 40 people died in October when fires swept through the wine country.
"They were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK", Weimer said.
Former tennis star Jimmy Connors said in a tweet that he and his wife, Patti, had been evacuated by helicopter from their home in the posh hillside community. "I don't know how I got lulled". Some said that after fleeing from fire in December, they doubted the rains would pose much of a risk.
"Since the time the fire ended, prior to Christmas, we had been warning our residents", he said. "We think somewhere in the debris field".
In Carpinteria, near Montecito, a US Coast Guard helicopter crew plucked a family of five, including a newborn, from the roof of a house where mud had flooded the first floor. The back-to-back disasters ― fire and flooding ― may seem like a cruel irony, but they're directly related.
"We're seeing those pre-frontal showers", said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola. "This little child just in the mud, up to its. tangled in the roots and metal and the rock and if we weren't standing within two feet of that thing we wouldn't have ever heard it".
There has been no outpouring of complaints from people that wireless warnings should have been sent out earlier, and residents of affected areas spoke with The Associated Press said they knew they lived in evacuation areas but chose not to leave. "That's why we messaged people on Sunday for something that was 30 hours away".
Bozanich said many people did not comply with either voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders.
A bevy of trucks from Southern California Edison were working at what was once a small, triangular-shaped park across the way from the retirement community.
His neighbors' house and others were swept away, as were two of the Grokenbergers' cars.
"Obviously, a lot depends on Mother Nature, on the magnitude of the rainfall, the magnitude of the mudslides and so forth", the sheriff told reporters on Tuesday. This is the 101 freeway in my neighborhood right now.