Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties were hit with a major rainstorm on Monday, Jan. 9, and Tuesday, Jan. 10, though Ventura County received less than one inch of rain while Santa Barbara County had up to at least four inches. The Thomas Fire left hillsides and landscape vulnerable in the region, with Montecito receiving the brunt of the downpour and destruction, resulting in at least 13 deaths, 25 injured and 50 rescues by air and dozens by ground due to mudslides and flooding. The total damage has yet to be calculated.
On Tuesday afternoon, Capt. Cindy Pontes of the California Highway Patrol said that they do not know when Highway 101 will reopen. The Highway, which was closed north and south bound from the 126 in Ventura County to Milpas Road in Santa Barbara, had been inundated with flood water and mud, trapping cars and debris. A broken water main has exacerbated the issue.
“Honestly, we don’t know, we’re hoping for 48 hours but it could be longer,” said Pontes during a live press conference, adding that CalTrans has been working feverishly to clear the debris.