Wet weather in Southern California this week is causing freeway closures and mudflows, especially in areas affected by wildfires last month.
Daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted out a dramatic photo of a flooded 101 Freeway in Montecito, Calif., saying, “This is not a river. This is the 101 freeway in my neighborhood right now.”
“Montecito needs your love and support,” she added.
This is not a river. This is the 101 freeway in my neighborhood right now. Montecito needs your love and support. pic.twitter.com/jRNCBrp4b5
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 9, 2018
DeGeneres had to evacuate her pets in December during the Thomas Fire. Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe, former Vice President Al Gore and several other celebrities also live in the area.
At least five people have died in the Montecito area after heavy rains spurred waist high mudflows around 2:30 a.m., the LA Times reported Tuesday. Three homes were knocked from their foundations, and rescue crews scrambled to free those trapped in homes and vehicles. At least three structures had been completely wiped away by 8:30 a.m., public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Mike Eliason told the LA Times.
Eliason said that a child was among those injured, and that multiple missing person reports have been filed.
The 101 Freeway was shut down in both directions for more than 30 miles between Santa Barbara and Ventura, according to California Highway Patrol, which urged drivers to avoid the area. This is the same area that was affected by the Thomas Fire in December. More than 6,000 residents were under a mandatory evacuation order, including Montecito, Goleta and Carpinteria, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto told CNN. Voluntary evacuations are in place for 20,000 more people.
Residents of LA County who live in a recent burn area are urged to prepare for mudslides and to heed any evacuation orders.
If you live in a recent burn area, your home could be vulnerable to mudslides. Read these tips to prepare and *always* heed evacuation orders from emergency responders https://t.co/EGHzZssNLl #LARain #CAwx pic.twitter.com/p3xFe5OPiV
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) January 8, 2018
For more Southern California evacuation orders, look here.