Keep Santa Paula & Ventura CA in your thoughts!

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by HyKlas, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Mud/debris slides are the worst. Things we think of as solid can actually become quite fluid.I remember hearing of the Oso slide in Washington state a few years back and thinking, what a terrible way to go. There was a history of more minor slides there as well and over 40 died. These pale in comparison to Armero Columbia in 1985 where 20,000 died (volcanic-triggered flow) and similar number of deaths in the 1999 Vargas, Venezuela flood/debris flow. Nobody talks about these events (imagine if all 9K in Montecito perished!)
    In Colorado, we have similar events in avalanches. On local news over the years, I've seen bodies pulled out after small events (usually backcountry skiers), and always think of what a terrible way this also is to go. We still build destination ski resorts and hotels at the base of mountains, but an unusual weather pattern combined with a historical snow dump can put it all at risk. Hard to think about when you are cutting up fresh powder as the odds of it happening are slim.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

     

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  2. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,957
    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    @phantomrebel
    The trees do not necessarily mark surface flows. It is deep water that they mark. But, hardly a point worthy of deep discussion.
    You ask about my property and flows.
    No one mentioned anything about what I uncovered when we bought the place.
    We are on an acre, and share property lines with two other neighbors on similar size (we are all 1.1 acre).
    The stream that we experience is delivered to us by an inconsiderate neighbors graded fire road on her 11 acre property, above us. The fire road acts like a gutter and delivers most of 11 acres + of hillside runoff onto us.
    To do anything about it would require a law suit.
    I armor plated myself with hundreds of tons of granite.

    When we moved in, I was not comfprtable with how high the soil line was in realtion to the mud-sill of the house (the base plate of the framed walls). It was right up tight to the bottom of the stucco, where the base plate meets the foundation, meets the stucco.
    So, I started digging, and moving soil away from the house. What I found was literally like a pointer leading me to look upstream. So I started following that intuition, and it led me to the high corner of my property, where we get a literal stream if we get a week of soild rains; three 2" days in a row will get our stream flowing.
    The inflow, if it hits a stick, or twig, can change its direction by a substanital amount.

    This is my stream, but, this is where it comes off of the neighbors property.
    This is in its earliest beginnings of flowing:
    DSCN1106_zps4d655bc9.jpg
    You can see the debris pile that has changed the flow direction. This is the slightest example, but, that change in direction, is towards the house.

    This is the same flow, but, now, just as it entered the property:
    DSCN1103_zps9e08ad29.jpg DSCN1102_zps9e08ad29.jpg

    In this pic, you can see where it has eroded out the base of this Eucalyptus stump:
    DSCN1104_zps06ed4bfb.jpg

    And, this is down my north property line:
    DSCN1100_zpse5f2504b.jpg DSCN1099_zpsaf0a2b4d.jpg

    OK,... this is the stream when it just starting to flow.
    I spent the better part of 6 years readying for the big event, and we got it last year (water flows, not mud/debris).
    next post, some of my mitigation efforts to control the flow.
     
  3. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,957
    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    My mitigation efforts to deal with this flow,....

    This is the view back at my house (seen through the bushes), from where the stream flows on our neighbors property.
    I have built a headwall to block the randomness of the flows, and contain them into a collection, desiltation barrier pond. I used the topography of the land, and built my headwall.
    The native shrub in the middle of the picture is the low point, where the flow is now forced to enter my property.
    DSCN1498_zps23744d2c.jpg

    This is the right wing wall, and is stacked bags of concrete (60, 60lb bags) that have hardened; faced with concrete scalloped lawn edging; and encased in hardware cloth, poultry wire.
    DSCN1499_zpsbc810ab0.jpg

    The left wing wall is many yards of soil hand carted up from below, faced in concrete stepping stones footed in concrete, and granite rip-rap, and then encased in chainlink fencing.
    DSCN1500_zps8445ad14.jpg

    This is looking at my newly developed low-point, the outflow to my desiltation basin. This is where the flow is forced to enter into my dry creek drainage system.
    DSCN1501_zps40e4269c.jpg DSCN1524_zpsd54b8ae0.jpg DSCN1525_zpse5755562.jpg DSCN1526_zpscbee233b.jpg

    Next post,.... the results.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  4. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,957
    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    This is the inflow entrance, just below the desiltation basin:

    DSCN3297.jpg
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    This is the orange and grapefruit tree that were being washed out in the first images:
    DSCN3286.jpg
    DSCN3295.jpg
     
  5. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,957
    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    This is below my dry creek, down the north property edge, and where it flows onto my neighbors property.
    We both learned that we needed to do additional stuff at this point in our shared access road (leads to rear of property).
    WE sandbagged it for last year.
    Just yesterday, I spent the better part of the day building up this turn.

    DSCN3303.jpg DSCN3304.jpg DSCN3305.jpg



    And, this is that effort, from yesterday.
    2x12 x 24' long, buried into the grade, and faced with gravel.
    The granite rocks all around are intended to direct flows where we want them to go.
    DSCN4385.jpg
    DSCN4386.jpg DSCN4394.jpg

    And, this is the final bit of draining that I built, to force water to drop into dry creeks, rather than aimingg at the house. They worked as well, returning this bit, back into the main flow:
    DSCN3301.jpg DSCN3306.jpg

    To the right, is the house. To the left, the hillside inflow. These are the last stand in protecting the house; not necessarily from the larger inflow, but, also to control our own realized on-property flows as well.
    The house, is no longer a threat of silt deposits, in regular, non-fire years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  6. That is some great work Mike! I'm afraid all the planning and grading in the world would not have prevented the Montecito disaster. It appears now that rainfall volumes alone cannot account for the observed flow. Furthermore, county reservoirs and pipelines that were full are now empty and damage appears similar to a dam fail. Hydrologist point to millions of gallons in a 30 min period, so lawsuits now are blaming the water district (who own and maintain the reservoirs and pipelines). While the area is closed and they are still trying to recover bodies, I was able to get on-site today for an extended period with my excavation team and do some inspection. It is clear my parents escaped death being, by chance, upstairs during the event as there is 8' of mud and debris in the master bedroom (the room on the right plugged up with debris in first photo) and muck levels were very high (water mark on wall is at 9'). Much debris came from way upstream, including a dumpster (resting on top of their mud filled pool in photo 2) and a car in the backyard (looks like a toy among the tree stumps and boulders in photo 3). I could not recognize the neighborhood, Route 192 has been reduced to a single lane dirt trail, similar to the back country trails I take my Jeep on in CO. There is no infrastructure left and from my view it will takes months just to get basic services restored. We will be OK and will rebuild. I only thought I'd share these pics as the news media has moved on and doesn't show what folks here are left with. Some weren't so lucky: the three houses I remember as landmarks below my parents home are gone. Just a vacant mudfield remains. I spoke to a fireman who recovered one of the bodies there. He saw a shoe in the mud and thought to grab it, only to find a 2-year old's body attached. His demeanor shows he is still haunted by the experience and will be for years. Shit, I think I will be haunted as well the way he told it. What a mess this is. By the way, these homes were OUTSIDE the mandatory evacuation zone and were given warning AFTER the event. My house, well within the zone, was thankfully untouched by the flood (just fire damage).
    floodmaster.JPG
    IMG_7308.JPG IMG_7305.JPG

    News photo showing culvert under road clogged up:
    5a5ec21036de3.image.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  7. elcoholic

    elcoholic AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,262
    Location:
    Fountain Valley, CA
    On a positive note my cousins got my aunt and uncle settled in a rental home in San Roque and went back to their families in ID and CO. It will be a long grueling process to rebuild and recover, but at least they have a place in their old neighborhood. Before they moved to Montecito they had a wonderful home on Carizo Dr. The staircase was awesome. Hand-hewn 10"x10" posts topped with hand carved near life sized archer's head. God bless to you and yours on the long road back.
     
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  8. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    Yeah, that Montecito thing is something that my silly little rocks wouldn't have any effect on.
    But they do allow me and my neighbor, who is also impacted by the flow, to sleep when its raining hard.

    What happened in Montecito is intense. A dam failure? OK,... that makes more sense than anything else that has been described/offered. Normal rain off-flow, or even normal heavy rain off-flow, isn't going to move giant boulders like that; but a surge flow would.
    Back around 1980 or so, I was driving up to West Yellowstone to a job that I'd arranged for the summer (fly fishing shop counter guy/part time giuide). In getting there, I had to drive through an area that was the remnants of a dam failure on the Snake River that took out a portion of Idaho Falls. It was really intense to see just how destructive that was.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  9. Just an update. After cleaning up and getting engineers inside, my parents house was deemed a total loss. The good news is insurance will cover it. Luckily, in California insurers are forced to cover debris flows that are related to fire even if the policy specifically excludes it as there is a "proximate cause" rule. Good to know for those of you in this state (insurer says if we were in Ohio, where they are based, we would not be covered).
    Given the conditions and ongoing, constant evacuations, all of us have now permanently moved out of the area. My wife and I bought a house on the beach in SLO County and my parents are back in Colorado. I don't think we are alone in re-locating: makes me wonder what real estate prices are going to do in Montecito. My ex-neighbor tells me yet another evacuation will be coming with the rain expected next week!
     
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  10. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Location:
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Thanks for checking in, I was thinking about you the other day and seen you where not on the site for a while, understandable.

    You know when this happened I was thinking how hard and what a pain it would be for them at their age to deal with construction. Now they can just go somewhere and be comfortable. To bad they are so far from you now...
     
  11. elcoholic

    elcoholic AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,262
    Location:
    Fountain Valley, CA
    Like Santa Barbara after a couple of the major earthquakes, Montecieto will likely recover over time. After all the 1st $1m + residences in CA we’re there. Once the infrastructure is restored the lots will regain their previous value. In some respects they’ll be much more accommodating to new construction with less Oaks to work around. I think the worst of it will be getting zoning approval from the preservationista “trying to recreate what was yet to be created” under modern regulation. The original organic character is lost forever. It will be replaced by a derivative version of what a commitee thinks it was.
    My mother doesn’t think my Aunt will rebuild considering my Uncle’s age and condition.
     

     

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  12. Thanks for the kind thoughts! They aren't actually that far away: we have a house in Colorado as well which is why they came back here. That's where I am at the moment so they are just down the street (going over there tonight for a traditional St. Patty's dinner in fact!). Either way, it's always tough as the parents get old. That's another reason my wife and I decided to get out of Montecito...it's all old people and I don't want to go there yet!
    Anyways, I was busy as heck at their house the past months. I organized a team that got most all the mud out along with all the wet drywall and insulation (pics below). The problem was there was just too much structural damage so it was all for naught (other than allowing the structural engineers to be able to examine what was going on).
    My place was spared from any mud damage, but we had other issues. Besides getting over the loss of animals, the only issue left is with the company that was hired to take our belongings and clean them after the fire: they ended up being opportunistic robbers. Their original estimate was $23K then when it was time to pick our stuff up they wanted $45K. Yeah, insurance is paying, but I don't like that kind of crap so I got my attorney involved. Our stuff is still hung up at their storage facility but no biggie as we are a few weeks from closing on the beach house and it will need remodeling thereafter. I actually don't give a damn about most of the stuff they took....just want my turntables and record collection back and maybe the family photos that I never digitized. Nevertheless, the insurance companies have been great, and I have an important lesson learned from the experience: You can never have too much insurance!!
    IMG_7652.JPG IMG_7651.JPG
     
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  13. I think you are right. There was an area of the yard the County would not let my parents touch as they demanded it be kept "natural", even though it was close to the home. Well, that area is completely wiped out now so what was all the BS about? Furthermore, they lost 70% of the oaks on the property, the same ones we needed a permit just to prune. I bet less damage would have occurred if they let owners manage their landscapes. Believe or not, the property owners like trees too!
    I sure hope your Aunt and Uncle find peace. Sometimes its best just to move on with a clean slate but it gets tougher the older one gets.
     
  14. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Piney Flats, Tn.
    Hard times builds strong people, as seen here.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
     
  15. elcoholic

    elcoholic AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Fountain Valley, CA
    Thanks and I hope so to. I haven't lived in SB since '66, we moved south to Pacific Palisades when I was 10. It still feels like home though. I'd love to go back to my Grandparent's place where I lived in Hope Ranch, but I can't even pay the taxes on what that place is worth. I'm going to need lotto winnings for that dream to come true.
     
  16. That's the most desirable place in SB right now, according to our RE agent. He says prices went up huge in Hope Ranch after the events (not that they weren't super high already....and for good reason).
    I just got notice on my phone of another evacuation for Tuesday night...glad I'm not there!
     

     

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  17. elcoholic

    elcoholic AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My grandparents were original owners on Estrella Dr next to Laguna Blanca school. He bought the smallest lot, 5/8" acre, because he didn't want to keep horses. He just borrowed one for the Fiesta Parade to ride with the Rancheros. I still have his Stetson. I loved my childhood there with my Grandparents. Duncan Renaldo, AKA the Cisco Kid, lived to drives up and across the street. My sis and I could ride his horses just about anytime we wanted. My Aunt, same one as above, still lived at home and would take us to the HR Beach. Grandma would meet us at the door, park our butts on the picnic table and scrub the tar off our feet with Energene cleaning fluid! Good times.
     
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  18. zinnah

    zinnah Active Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Sonoma CA
    We live in Sonoma, were evacuated and fortunately survived with everything intact, unlike some friends who were completely burned out.

    The fire then the mud flows were horrid in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but another disaster could be imminent.
    There is potential for heavy rains and debris flows Tuesday through Thursday according to weatherwest.com.
    Weatherwest was sounding the alarm in January about the potential for life threatening events then.

    Here are couple of recent posts , be very careful out there.
    Their record for accurate prognostications is quite good and worth reading if you are interested in California weather.

    Weather West Mod • 20 hours ago


    Okay, folks. Last few model runs coming in *much* stronger for Tues-Thurs storm near Thomas Fire burn areas. Evacuations are a near certainty at this point; my guess is that everyone will need to leave by Tuesday noon. Also: folks in Ojai Valley should pay close attention as well, not just those living on the coastal slopes in SB.

    This has all the hallmarks of a storm that could produce flooding in that region even *without* a severe wildfire scar: namely, an extraordinarily warm, moist, and (even) unstable subtropical airmass. 24-48 hours of widespread heavy rainfall, possibly with embedded thunderstorms, now appears possible. With this setup, flooding and debris flows of some magnitude would be *likely,* and there will likely be at least some chance of major debris flows once again.

    This event is still 4-5 days out, so there's still some uncertainty. But again: this one concerns me at least as much as the Jan 9 event did (and remember I did not say the same thing about recent rain events over the past few weeks, even though there were some evacuations then). I'll definitely have a blog post on Monday if things still look this serious at that point.

    [​IMG]

    Latest GFS showing 72-hour rainfall totals of 6-7+ inches over broad region near #ThomasFire burn scar. Given extreme orographic enhancement that typically occurs in Transverse Ranges near #SantaBarbara, that could easily translate to 10+ inches in favored areas.#CAwx #ThomasFire
     
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  19. Thanks Zinnah. I just sent my old neighbors the link and told them to take this coming storm seriously!
     

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