Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

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Updated Debris Flow Risk Map

Update by edhat staff

The new Debris Flow Risk Map has been released ahead of Thursday night's public meeting. The full map is available at ReadySBC.org and through this link.

The highlighted areas on the new map indicate what areas will be evacuated if a storm is forecasted that may cause a debris flow. Officials state that in the event of a rapidly developing storm with little to no warning, residents living in the risk areas should have a plan to protect themselves and their family if it is not safe to evacuate.

The updated map significantly reduces the highlighted risk areas from earlier this year. The reduction is partly due to vegetation regrowth in the Thomas Fire burn areas.

Local officials are hosting a public informational meeting tonight, Thursday, December 5, at Montecito Union School (385 San Ysidro Road, Santa Barbara) beginning at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live on the County's CSBTV cable channel 20 and YouTube at www.YouTube.com/user/CSBTV20.


Source: County of Santa Barbara

The Montecito Fire Department, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection District, and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams is inviting the public to attend a community informational meeting in advance of the winter storm season.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, December 5 at Montecito Union School, 385 San Ysidro Road, Santa Barbara. The meeting will be streamed live on the County’s CSBTV cable channel 20 and YouTube at www.YouTube.com/user/CSBTV20

The purpose of this community meeting is to publicly release the Interactive Debris Flow Risk Map that identifies properties in our communities that may be at risk from debris flow or flooding this storm season. This map will be utilized by local emergency managers to determine what portions of the community will be evacuated if necessary this winter.

Screenshot of 2018 Debris Flow Map

The risk map is in the process of being updated to include the most up-to-date scientific research and data gathered following the Thomas Fire and the 1/9 Debris Flow.

If a storm is forecasted that may cause a debris flow, the risk area will be evacuated. In the event of a rapidly developing storm with little to no warning, residents living in the risk areas should have a plan to protect themselves and their family if it is not safe to evacuate.

The new interactive map will be located online at www.ReadySBC.org beginning December 5, 2019. For more information on the updated risk map, please contact the Montecito Fire Department at (805) 969-7762.

Also on ReadySBC.org, residents and visitors should register for emergency alerts and download Storm Ready-Set-Go preparedness tips.

For assistance developing a family safety plan, contact a local fire department or go to https://www.ready.gov/

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33 Comments

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a-1576060515 Dec 07, 2019 11:32 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

105 people are watching the Cave Fire burn scene, with an eye to reporting danger. This was on KEYT last night (Friday) in an interview with Jon Frye, County Flood Control. That was reassuring as he waits for the report that will lead to the debris flow maps, soon. He has an army of people investigating, and we are lucky to have him! He cares!

a-1576060515 Dec 07, 2019 09:23 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Scavenger hunt. (1) How many Hollister Street locations have creeks under the street? (2) Where is Hospital Creek; where is its confluence with Atascadero Creek? (3) Can you locate all creeks in Noleta (unincorporated area between Goleta and Santa Barbara). Are Noleta and Goleta going to get good information about the Cave Fire debris and mud flow potential and what are rainfall thresholds for Cave Fire area?

a-1576060515 Dec 07, 2019 08:44 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Jan. is historically biggest rainfall month, according to charts at end of this report. Good read. Anyone who looks at photos and doesn't have flood insurance, reconsider. It takes one month for flood insurance to activate. The Barney Brantingham article! What an eye-opener: https://www.counghtyofsb.org/uploadedFiles/pwd/Content/Water/1995FloodsRpt.pdf

Flicka Dec 06, 2019 09:58 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

"We used to have creeks meandering gracefully to the sea." Sure, when there hadn't been a steady downpour, during a flood it's not true. In 1969 on Hidden Valley Lane, not in Montecito but just over the diving line. There was a little arroyo where water came out of a pipe and crossed the road, really a trickle. In 1969 the road at the crossing became a huge gorge, probably 10-15 feet deep and at least 10 feet wide; no more "trickling gracefully to the sea." Residents above this were stranded although I had friends who managed to get a rope across to "hand over hand" their way across. So, with this tiny water channel damaged severely, imagine what the "little meandering creeks" looked like. Some Creekside homes lost a great deal of their land. A place on Toro Canyon lost over an acre from the cute little, graceful meandering creek.

TJTom Dec 06, 2019 09:05 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

I am really surprised that the newly released debris flow map does not address the Cave Fire. The map at the link does include the area below the Cave Fire but there are no storm impact markings shown in that area.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 04:45 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

1995 floods S.B., Montecito, and Goleta description w/photos: https://www.countyofsb.org/uploadedFiles/pwd/Content/Water/1995FloodsRpt.pdf

SBZZ Dec 05, 2019 08:52 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

SBWoman - The 1969 flood culminated with intense rainfall after several days of solid rain, whereas the 2018 Montecito flood occurred from a short-term burst of rain. Two very different situations and therefore hard to apply the former to the later. As a comparison, the 69 event affected wide areas of the Tri-Counties and SoCal - the 2018 flood affected as we know, a very small area. The rains of 69 were so immense that the remnants of the 1964 Coyote Fire above Montecito probably played a very small part in the Montecito floods of 69.

SBWoman Dec 06, 2019 08:04 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Thank you. After years of drought, and following weeks of the Thomas Fire (wearing smoke masks), some of us were not in the 1969 mindset for a heavy downpour, or storm blast. The last storm I experienced was around 1989 or 1992,. I didn’t live here in 1969, and never heard about it until 12/2017 from a neighbor, who lived through it in Montecito. Any info and photos the County or media had shared of past storms would have heightened alerts. The link to the County website 1969 Storm Report was worth viewing.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 08:25 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

We used to have creeks meandering gracefully to the sea. Now we've got debris flow channels managed by over thinking computer software zealots.

oceandrew Dec 07, 2019 11:48 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

See, that's the problem right there. You are thinking in short time frame increments and forget, or ignore, the fact that every 25 years or so your graceful creeks become raging torrents. The over thinking computer software zealots, on the other hand, are focusing on those 25 year episodes you ignore.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 07:39 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

People are complacent when they don't deal with weather and water on a regular basis. Anyone from the East Coast or from areas that get regular rain and floods know what water can do. Regardless of a "voluntary" warning, if there were any mandatory evacs in the area anyone living anywhere near there, that understood what water can do especially near creeks, would have been out of there in a heart beat regardless - I would have, whether or not I was in a voluntary or no evacuation zone. Sadly it was a hard lesson learned after so many years of not having to deal with rains in an area like this, backed up against mountains. Stop blaming others for mistakes - take personal responsibility and learn something.

a-1576060515 Dec 06, 2019 08:07 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Why do you need the government to tell you about water flow? It's common sense! That is my point - you've been here 42 years and somehow you don't know how dangerous creeks and water are especially backed up against mountains? You don't need a link to tell you this - just use your brain for a second, for yourself. Look at Rocky Nook park.

a-1576060515 Dec 06, 2019 07:04 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Photos of the 1969 Coyote Debris Flow have been on Montecito Fire’s website for years. https://www.montecitofire.com/100years

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 08:47 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Agreed: many of us want to learn. How? Where? Until recently no info was shared with public, and was difficult to access from County Planning and PT Surveyor Staff. I’ve been here 42 years.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 07:36 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Why only 2018 map and info on County website? It’s December, 2019! Staff update your site. Search Montecito Storm Map, Montecito Rain Warning Map, Montecito Red Zones. All lead to February, 2018 info. Do we need another salary increase to get County site updated?

a-1576060515 Dec 07, 2019 11:52 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

It takes a lot to redraw a map. It starts with accurate detailed facts not just a sharpie and a whim.

SBZZ Dec 04, 2019 01:49 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Shasta guy - The County today is well aware of the 1969 flood. It is a design storm for long duration rainfall events and I assume they also made note of its high water marks.

SBWoman Dec 05, 2019 07:17 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

If County leaders were aware and well informed about 1969, why wasn’t 1969 disaster info shared with media for inclusion with coverage? Seems like bad communication; or major staff oversight. The County Administrator/ CEO failed us.

Shasta Guy Dec 04, 2019 01:29 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

A 25 year old young buck county employee in 1969 who would have experienced that debris flow would be 75 now. All those people are long retired so would be no one left on staff who experienced that event. It also means there is no institutional memory that could have crafted a more strategic evacuation that would have spared lives. Records back then would have been all paper based, and perhaps they did not survive the digital transition.

a-1576060515 Dec 06, 2019 06:54 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

There are phots of the Coyote Debris Flow on the Montecito Fire District’s website .......at least there were in January 2018. Haven’t looked lately......

Flicka Nov 13, 2019 01:34 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

If anyone had paid attention they would have realized the 1969 flood destroyed or severely damaged houses in the same location as ones in 2018. People just don't bother paying attention to history. Anyone living by a creek should know to get out of the way during expected flash floods but instead gripe because no one said they HAD to leave, just made it voluntary. Well, voluntary means make a sensible decision of responsibility for yourself.

a-1576060515 Dec 06, 2019 06:51 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Speaking of history, people were not allowed to build near the creeks prior to WWII. This changed after the war. Compare “before” and “after” maps......what developer(s) and/or landowner(s) effected that change......

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 02:43 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

A good Realtor knows the area and doesn't show properties in hazard zones, and if clients still want to purchase land or developed property in these areas, tries to dissuade or warn them to safer areas. Perhaps they lose a determined client or two, but at least they know that they are doing the best for the clients. The Santa Barbara south coast has a variety of hazards, ranging from beach storms and floods all the way to fires on the mountain tops. Buyers beware.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 02:43 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

A good Realtor knows the area and doesn't show properties in hazard zones, and if clients still want to purchase land or developed property in these areas, tries to dissuade or warn them to safer areas. Perhaps they lose a determined client or two, but at least they know that they are doing the best for the clients. The Santa Barbara south coast has a variety of hazards, ranging from beach storms and floods all the way to fires on the mountain tops. Buyers beware, indeed.

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 07:12 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

How do we stop our county from zoning land and then approving construction of homes where none should ever be built? Buyer beware, but I had no access to info from so-called “professional realtor” prior to purchase. What can we do to ensure these red zone maps must be provided prospective home buyers? Will County also develop maps of homes built on unstable soil subject to slippage; and one in the ocean climate warming flood zone? We all should be able to cut our property tax valuations in half!

a-1576060515 Dec 05, 2019 07:05 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

We were informed to prepare, or evacuate. We received multiple alerts. I’m just South of Hwy 192, Sycamore Canyon. I had my car ready to leave, stayed awake, dressed, monitoring my Hill, streets, and evacuation routes. Update were regularly sent to my phone; but visuals of the downpour kept me in the ready position. I was shocked by interviews in the media after the storm, how many of my informed, highly educated, smart friends put on PJs and went to bed, despite multiple warnings and alerts. We are free to choose, and must remain free to choose, how to respond to warnings. The media’s and/or County’s failure was not informing folks of 1969. Fortunately, due to a highly experienced neighbor, who lived through the debri flow in his youth, telling us all at a neighborhood gathering following the Thomas Fire, my neighbors on the hill just South of Cold Spring School knew what was possible on 1/9-10/2018. Did others? During disasters, give local history info.

Bob Wilson Dec 04, 2019 04:45 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Shasta Guy. Yes! Using Highway 192 as a demarcation line for a debris flow was just plain dumb. Mud, rocks and debris will flow from the top of the hill (burn scar) to the bottom of the hill (ocean). The 19 victims south of Highway 192 got bad information from the County. No one will ever know how many of them would've left if they'd been ordered, but the fact remains that they trusted "experts" who didn't know what they were doing. Period.

Shasta Guy Dec 04, 2019 03:31 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Thanks Bob. I went into the way back machine for Edhat, and here's the warning from SB County just before the debris flow. This warning was the product of loss of institutional memory from 1969. The new maps reflect lessons learned from 2018, more like lessons "relearned" since we already new everything we needed to know from the 1969 incident, but forgot. ******* Source: County of Santa Barbara January 7, 2018 Evacuations have been issued for areas below the Thomas, Whittier, Sherpa and Rey Fire Burn Areas beginning at 12 pm (noon) on Monday, January 8, 2018, due to an approaching winter storm. This strong storm is expected to produce heavy rain, high winds and extremely dangerous flash flooding, mud and debris flows. Flash floods, mud and debris flows can happen with little or no warning. It is important that you understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities. A MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER has been issued for unincorporated parts of Santa Barbara County, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria including all areas NORTH of Hwy 192, EAST of Cold Springs Road, and WEST of Hwy 150/the County line. Also included in this Order are the areas along Tecolote Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, Gato Canyon, and the Whittier burn areas near Goleta. People in these areas should take action to leave no later than 12 pm (noon) Monday. A VOLUNTARY EVACUATION WARNING has been issued for all areas SOUTH of Hwy 192 to the ocean and EAST of Hot Springs Road/Olive Mill Road to Hwy 150/the County line. People in these areas should stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to leave immediately. If the situation worsens or you feel threatened, leave immediately or take protective actions.

Bob Wilson Dec 04, 2019 02:19 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Following the devastating debris flow that killed 23 people, the Sheriff and former OEM Director were praised as heroes. The County Exec was given a pay raise. But no one talks about the fact that 19 of the dead were in a "voluntary evacuation zone", based on an egregious lack of judgement that ridiculously assumed the debris flow would stop at Highway 192.

PitMix Nov 14, 2019 10:36 AM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

And the 1st map the County generated reflected the 1969 experience, which is why it is bewildering that they replaced it with a map that looked like the fire evacuation zones. If the County was a private entity, it would be bankrupt by now. Lucky they got the state to exempt them from liability. That's why everyone has to sue SCE at this point.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 02:26 PM
Updated Debris Flow Risk Map Released

Unfortunately, the federal government--i.e., tax payers--takes on much of the financial risk, making it profitable to build in flood plains. There was an excellent Fresh Air segment on this recently.

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