The death toll in the mudslides that buried parts of Montecito, Calif., in muck and boulders has risen to 20, officials said on Sunday, and portions of Highway 101 will stay closed indefinitely.
“No one particular could have planned for the size and scope of what a 200-year storm, instantly following our largest wildfire, would bring,” Eric Peterson, the chief of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, stated at a news conference on Saturday.
Road crews are working 12-hour shifts to reopen the highways, mentioned Jim Shivers, a spokesman for the California Division of Transportation, identified as Caltrans.
Highway 101, a significant artery on the Central Coast used by up to 79,000 automobiles per day, is closed for a stretch of about seven miles from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara, Mr. Shivers said in an email on Sunday.
The highway is also closed to northbound site visitors for about 11 miles from State Route 150 to the city of Santa Barbara.
“This is a main undertaking for every agency, including ours,” Mr. Shivers stated. “I want I could say when Highway 101 will reopen. I can tell you that it will, but I don’t have a certain date or time at the present.”
He said road crews had been confronting a “massive amount of water” on the highway. “Once we can get that water to recede, we really feel really confident that we can bring in the offered equipment on standby, get down to the bottom, and move the heavy material out of the way,” he stated.
He did not have an estimate about when State Route 192 would reopen. It is closed from the junction of State Route 144 in Santa Barbara to the junction of State Route 150.
Capt. Cindy Pontes of the California Highway Patrol told travelers to consider using either Amtrak or ferries as an alternate route of transportation.
“Again, we just ask for your patience,” she said. “We know that feelings are operating really high right now and men and women are actually upset about the 101 being closed. We are, too. We want it to be open since it has an impact on everybody.”
The closures will be “extremely disruptive” because there is so small redundancy in the road network between Ventura and Santa Barbara, creating it somewhat analogous to a bridge or tunnel closure, Brian D. Taylor, the director of the Institute of Transportation Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview on Sunday.
If folks are traveling in between those two places, “they will not be capable to maintain anything close to the typical pattern,” he said.
In addition to killing at least 20 men and women, the mudslides have destroyed 65 homes and damaged hundreds a lot more.
A search group found the 19th victim, Morgan Christine Corey, 25, on Saturday, officials said. Her 12-year-old sister, Sawyer Corey, was also among these who died. The 20th victim has not yet been identified.
The number of men and women missing has decreased to 4, Santa Barbara County reported on Sunday. Officials are continuing to search for victims.
Published at Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:38:58 +0000