Harry and Meghan’s California town ordered evacuated over mudslide fears

Montecito, which is also a favorite of American entertainment royalty like Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Aniston, is forecast to get up to 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in 24 hours — on already soggy hillsides. after weeks of heavy rain.

Emergency agencies in the town 90 minutes from Los Angeles said anyone in the area should get out.

“LEAVE NOW! This is a rapidly evolving situation. Pay attention to emergency warnings,” a fire department website said.

The town, home to multimillion-dollar properties in California’s spectacular countryside, is particularly susceptible to landslides because it sits at the foot of a mountain range that was ravaged by fire five years ago.

Hundreds of square miles (km) were scorched in 2017-2018, stripping away the vegetation that normally holds soil in the hillsides.

Without trees and bushes, the rains can quickly turn dangerous.

“Over the past 30 days, Montecito has received 12-20 inches of rain throughout the community, exceeding our annual average of 17 inches,” Montecito Fire said on Twitter.

“This heavy, saturated rain puts communities at greater risk of flooding and debris flow.”

Parade of tornadoes

The evacuation order in Montecito comes as California is reeling from the latest in a series of storms that have killed 12 people.

A large swath of the Golden State has been under flood warning as it struggles to cope with heavier rainfall following near-record downpours in recent weeks – with even more forecast more in the coming days.

“Two torrents of heavy rain and heavy snowfall in the mountains are expected to rapidly impact California over the next few days, along with two of the more powerful and moisture-packed tornadoes targeting directly.” state, the report said. National Weather Service said.

The NWS said up to 5 inches (13 cm) of rain could fall throughout Monday in coastal areas of central California.

More rain is expected on Tuesday, including in the southern part of the state, while the Sierra Nevada mountains could be covered with up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow, creating hazardous conditions.

Governor Gavin Newsom said 12 people have died in the past 10 days.

Last week, he declared a state of emergency and on Sunday he requested, and was granted, a presidential emergency declaration.

“We think the worst is still ahead,” Newsom told reporters.

More than 100,000 homes lost power on Monday.

“The cumulative impact of successive heavy rains will lead to additional floods,” the NWS warned.

“This includes rapid water surges, landslides and the potential for major river flooding. Vulnerable terrain and areas near recent burn scars will be most at risk to debris flows and runoff. fast.”

Showers during drought

While heavy rain isn’t unusual for California during the winter, these downpours are testing the state.

They come as much of the western United States has experienced more than two decades of severe drought, which has dramatically increased the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

Human-caused climate change, caused by the uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels, has increased erratic changes in weather, making the region wet and humid, scientists say and drier regions.

Last week’s storms around San Francisco left tens of thousands of people without power because they caused flooding.

That came after a downpour on New Year’s Eve, leaving the ground wet and flooded.

But even recent heavy rains have not been enough to reverse the drought.

Scientists say it will take several years of above-average rainfall for the reservoirs to return to normal levels.

This story has been published from the electronic agency’s feed without any modification to the text.

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