A week has passed since the deadly mudslides hit Montecito, and forecasts show more rain may be headed for the southern Santa Barbara County community this week.
According to the National Weather Service, there’s a slight chance of rain Thursday night and into Friday morning, which is expected to give way to a mostly sunny weekend on the Central Coast. Officials said the rain could further impact Highway 101 and efforts to reopen it.
Tom Fayram, the water resources deputy director for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, said Tuesday during a community meeting at La Cumbre Junior High School in Santa Barbara that this week’s rains are “not expected to be significant” and that “it may actually be beneficial.”
“We don’t know the full extent of the capacity of our drainage system, but we will find out, and we’ll find it’s weaknesses and we’ll fix it,” Fayram said. “This rain will give the first test, but we believe the creek systems can handle this next rain.”
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Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said 100,000 cubic yards of debris have been removed from just one creek bed, and that there is a constant convoy of trucks hauling material away from areas affected by the mudslides.
“This is not a safe place to be at the moment,” Brown said.
However, Fayram said future rains will move and redeposit debris and cause new issues in the area.
“No matter what Mother Nature throws at us in the future,” Fayram said, “we will be here and we will deal with that.”