Montecito, California evacuated ahead of second wave of storms bringing rain, wind, flooding and mudslides
01/11/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

Round two of a series of storms battering California has left at least 14 people dead and sent celebrities and movie stars packing.

Montecito, one of America's wealthiest oceanside villas, was evacuated due to fierce storm bands that brought with them flash flooding, downed trees, and mudslides. Montecito is home to such names as British Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, media guru Oprah Winfrey, and television actress Jennifer Aniston.

A five-year-old boy from San Luis Obispo, located to the north of Montecito, remains missing after flood waters apparently swept him away. Some 230,000-and-counting homes and businesses are reportedly without power as a result of the storm.

(Related: The first wave of California's bomb cyclone storms, which struck last week, brought hurricane-level winds to the state and left more than 180,000 of its households without power.)

As many as seven inches (18 centimeters) of new rain pummeled northern California while the Sierra Nevada mountains saw "several more feet of snow," according to the National Weather Service (NWS), which described these ongoing storms hitting California as an "endless onslaught of atmospheric river events."

Newsom says recent California storms have already killed "more lives than wildfires in the past two years combined"

Not since 2005 have such powerful storms struck the Golden State, America's most populous. Key areas of these including Montecito, which was set to receive at least eight inches of rain in 24 hours, simply cannot handle this much weather all at once.


The movie star-infested enclave was issued a warning in advance of the storm urging residents to "LEAVE NOW! This is a rapidly evolving situation. Please pay close attention to emergency alerts."

Roadblocks were set up to keep people from entering the town while those still in it were goaded to flee while they still could. Montecito is especially prone to mudslides right now following a massive wildfire that ravaged the area five years ago.

In 2017 and 2018, hundreds of square miles of land throughout the area, which sits in the foothills of a large mountain range, were scorched. In January of 2018, mudslides from a post-fire storm killed 23 people in Montecito.

"Over the last 30 days, Montecito has received 12-20+ inches of rain across the community, exceeding our yearly average of 17 inches," the local fire department wrote in a warning on Twitter.

"This cumulative, saturating rain puts the community at greater risk of flooding and debris flow."

Other famous residents of Montecito whose current whereabouts remain unknown include Ellen "degenerate" DeGeneres, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry, and Rob Lowe.

The current known death toll from these recent storms prompted the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue a statement that more people have died in the past several weeks from all the rain and flooding than from all "wildfires in the past two years combined."

In Ventura County, located to the north of Los Angeles but south of Montecito, the local fire department reported rescuing 18 people on Monday alone from an island in the flooded Ventura River.

There is also more rain to come in a third wave of storms that is expected to strike California later in the week.

"We expect to see the worst of it still ahead of us," Newsom told reporters ominously following a recent declaration of a statewide emergency.

The NWS also chimed in on the matter, stating that over the next few days, "two major episodes of heavy rain and heavy mountain snow are expected to impact California in quick succession" as a result of another "more energetic and moisture-laden parade of cyclones that are aiming directly" for the state.

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