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Residents of Montecito, California, have been ordered to entirely evacuate because of a risk of flooding as California continues to deal with an intense storm.
Fire authorities reportedly said that Montecito saw over five inches of rain between the early morning and late morning hours. Areas of Carpinteria and Summerland, and Santa Barbara were also given orders to evacuate “due to threats to life safety caused by the ongoing storm,” the Montecito Fire Protection District reportedly said.
An evacuation location was set up in Santa Barbara and the fire department’s website was no longer working after many people tried to visit the site on Monday afternoon. Members of community were reportedly encouraged to go to the social media sites of the department. People who live in Santa Barbara County were also told to shelter in place.
It has also been five years since a mudslide took the lives of 23 people and ruined over 100 residences in the area.
Montecito is a small community next to Santa Barbara. It is home to some of the world’s biggest names and mega celebrities, such as Ariana Grande, Jennifer Aniston, and Ellen Degeneres. Grande had her wedding at her home in the area.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also live in a $23 million home in Montecito. In 2001, Oprah Winfrey went to a party at a property and influenced the people who owned it to sell it to her for nearly $52 million. Winfrey sold part of a Montecito property to Jennifer Aniston last year.
Rob Lowe, who also lives in Montecito, said that the presence of Harry and Markle in the area brought a “heightened level of interest.”
“They definitely have brought a lot of attention to my sleepy little town,” Lowe reportedly told E! News.
“Once the royals move into your neighborhood, the neighborhood is never going to be the same,” he noted. “The good news is property values go up. The bad news is the lines are longer at Starbucks.”
Natalie Portman and Meg Ryan have also had residences in Montecito. As of December, Gwyneth Paltrow and Katy Perry also had residences in the community.
“Katy grew up in Santa Barbara and always loved it there. Orlando has come to love it as well. He always enjoyed Malibu, but finds Montecito even better since it’s much more private,” someone close to Orlando Bloom previously told People.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the move to evacuate almost 10,000 residents was “based on the continuing high rate of rainfall with no indication that that is going to change before nightfall,” according to the Associated Press.
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, anticipates the rain pausing after January 18.
“That is my best guess right now, which is good because it will give the rivers in Northern California, and now in Central California, a chance to come down,” he said.