Emergency channels carved in Montecito will help runoff flow in next storm

Mudflow zone has several locations to hit fast

MONTECTIO, Calif. - The Army Corps of Engineers has brought heavy equipment into the Montecito hills for an emergency project to open up debris basins before the next storms.

In some cases around Mountain Drive and Ashley Road, workers have cleared a channel wide enough for the flow after a light rain like the weather being forecasted for this Friday.

Tom Fayram, with the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department said, "Then they will begin working on the big piles" that are strewn throughout the area. Some basins, as hard hit as they were, "did their job" said Fayram. That means they held back some of the rocks while the water went through.

A pipe that handles the flow was broken but still moving water the right direction.

Santa Barbara County is using a drone over the flood site to inspect areas they have not seen on foot, by vehicle or with a helicopter.

Downstream there is a concern now and in the future stormy weeks about sediment clogging parts of the creek that are narrow and now quite as deep.

On Ashley Road where homes were completely wiped out it was hard to find the creek due to the debris pile up. It has been re-established but the bridge is gone and utility lines have been ripped out.

Southern California Edison crews were restringing new power lines and installing transformers Monday afternoon until dark. Most of the area is without power although nearby on Sycamore Canyon Road service has been restored.

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