Urgent alerts about deadly mudslides came too late for Montecito victims
After the Thomas fire, the U.S. Geological Survey studied the burn area to determine its vulnerability for flash floods, mudslides and debris flows. The agency found that a rainfall rate of half an inch per hour would trigger debris flows, officials said.
Too much rain
On Tuesday morning, the storm far exceeded that threshold when it dumped 0.54 of an inch of rain on Montecito within five minutes, said Robert Munroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Munroe said such an extreme rainfall rate is usually seen once every 200 years.
| Natural Hazards
Synoptic conditions associated with cool season post-fire debris flows in the Transverse Ranges of southern California
Nina S. Oakley, Jeremy T. Lancaster, Michael L. Kaplan et al
Jan 23, 2018 | E&E News
Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes
Jan 16, 2018 | The Weather Channel
Southern California Mudslide Update: Major Coastal Highway Remains Closed; Missing Man Found
Jan 12, 2018 | The San Luis Obispo Tribune
5 people still missing in Montecito, but that number might change ‘significantly,’ officials say