This week's rainstorm continues to wreak havoc in the Montecito area. Seventeen people have died and eight people are still missing. Dozens of homes have been destroyed and hundreds more have been damaged in Santa Barbara County.
The mud is waist high along a 13-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara that's been closed since Tuesday. Officials with the California Department of Transportation say the earliest it will reopen is Monday.
That stretch of the 101 is among the only points of access to communities affected by the mudslides. With many local roads also impassable, residents are hard pressed to meet basic daily needs — like picking up prescriptions or getting groceries.
Susana Cruz is a public information officer with the California Department of Transportation. She joined Take Two's A Martinez to talk about the 101 cleanup.
The condition of the closed roadway
Some areas have up to three feet of mud, so we don't know what damage there might be, what we might find under all that mud. We have several boulders that are up to eight feet in diameter. There's boulders, there's water tanks. There's other equipment and things in the way.
Right now we're clearing the water, mud and debris, but it's still continuing to move so it's hampering the progress. There's still so many paths of water clogged down stream. It's not receding as we had hoped.
What roads CalTrans is working to clear right now
We have several roads closed on our state system, but our main focus right now is Highway 101, which is the main artery across California. So the closure limits are from State Route 150 in Ventura County to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara County.
Estimated time of reopening
We're hoping now for mid day on Monday. We have a lot of ground to uncover literally.
How the mud gets cleared
We have help from other agencies including the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire and the Office of Emergency Services, but we have our plows, our equipment, that has the capacity to sweep and clear depending on how sticky it is. Some of it is like Indian clay, and that requires more work.
This story has been updated.