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1 year after the devastating mudslides: Then-and-now photos capture Montecito, California

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
January 09, 2019, 4:55:29 PM EST

Marcio Jose Sanchez

<i>In this Jan. 13, 2018, file photo, crews work on clearing Highway 101 in the aftermath of a mudslide in Montecito, Calif. Officials say the possibility of future catastrophic floods will be in mind as Montecito rebuilds following deadly mudslides that devastated the wealthy coastal hideaway. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)</i>

Daniel Dreifuss/AP

Cars drive on U.S. Highway 101 for the first time in weeks after heavy rain brought flash flooding and mudslides that covered the highway in Montecito, Calif., Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Daniel Dreifuss)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A Cal Fire search and rescue crew looks over a home damaged by debris flows in Montecito, California, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018.

(AP Photo/Daniel Dreifuss)

This combination of photos shows debris and mud covering the street in front of local area shops, top, after heavy rain brought flash flooding in Montecito, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2018, and a similar view after clean up on Monday, Jan. 22, bottom.

(AP Photo/Daniel Dreifuss)

Debris and mud cover the entrance of the Montecito Inn after heavy rain brought flash flooding and mudslides to the area in Montecito, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, Daniel Dreifuss)

This combination of photos shows a mud-covered sign, top, near the closed U.S. Highway 101 after heavy rain brought flash flooding in Montecito, Calif., on Jan. 13, 2018, and clean up of the area from a similar view on Monday, Jan. 22, bottom.

(Photo/Matt Udkow/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

This Jan. 10, 2018, file aerial photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows mudflow and damage to homes in Montecito, California.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

This photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows a home that has been buried in flood debris in Montecito, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

In this Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, shows a semi-tractor trailer stuck in mud on U.S. Highway 101, in Montecito, Calif.

(Photo/Mike Eliason Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer)

A damaged vehicle was pushed onto U.S. Highway 101 by the mudflow in the Montecito area.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, Daniel Dreifuss)

This combination of photos shows a bulldozer moving debris, top, as a vehicle sits stranded in flooded water on U.S. Highway 101 after heavy rain brought flash flooding in Montecito, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2018, and cars driving on the highway after clean up from a similar view on Monday, Jan. 22, bottom.

(Photo/Blake Herman/Santa Barbara County Fire)

Firefighters look under a bridge at creek in Montecito that was jammed solid with debris from the deadly rains and mudflow January 9.


On Jan. 9, 2018, the Southern California town of Montecito became overwhelmed with destructive mudslides after a potent storm prowled through the area.

Heavy rain that had fallen on burn scar areas from the devastating Thomas Fire, which had raged only several weeks prior, triggered waves of flowing mud, rock and debris, which came crashing down onto homes and roadways. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.

The debris flow claimed 21 lives with two people still missing, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Mike Eliason.

Eliason shared before and after imagery of Montecito on Twitter to mark the one-year anniversary of the mudslides.


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Montecito is planning a remembrance event on the evening of Jan. 9 for those in the community to remember the victims and share their experiences.

"This event is for everyone in the community," organizers said. "By providing the space in which to honor our collective experiences, it is the hope of the hosting committee that our community will share a night of healing, hope and light with one another."

The charity organization Direct Relief , which is based in Santa Barbara, said local relief efforts have exceeded $5.5 million in assistance over the past year and remain ongoing.

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