PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP
Last week, massive mudslides ravaged Southern California leaving 17 dead and more than 160 injured. After heavy rains fell earlier in the week, ensuing mudslides destroyed 100 houses and damaged 300 others according to Santa Barbara County authorities. In addition, eight commercial properties were destroyed and 20 were damaged.
The mudslides occurred in the same area that saw some of the biggest wildfires in the nation. This is no coincidence. Scientists have said that the recent California wildfires can be attributed to climate change, which then caused the devastating mudslides. The connection here is that when soil is burnt, it can't absorb as much water. So after heavy rain fell in the same area, it caused loose mud to slide down and uproot trees, rocks, and even homes.
According to CNN, “the force of the mudslides was so massive that it destroyed homes, uprooted trees and washed away dozens of cars.” It’s estimated that only 10 - 15% of residents fled when ordered and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.