Monday, June 18 , 2018, 6:37 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Summerland, Carpinteria Isolated After Storm Cuts Off Access, Communications

Both communities have no access to Santa Barbara, and have widespread utility outages after the deadly storm that killed 18 in neighboring Montecito

Summerland residents help unload the Santa Barbara County water delivery to the community on Thursday afternoon. Click to view larger
Summerland residents help unload the Santa Barbara County water delivery to the community on Thursday afternoon. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

Summerland and Carpinteria had relatively minor flooding and damage from Tuesday’s storm that devastated Montecito, but the communities have become isolated by communications outages and major road closures.

“Carpinteria has become an island, if you will,” said Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Chief Ray Navarro.

Highway 101 remains closed between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria indefinitely, and side roads are also blocked by storm debris. 

During the storm, county Emergency Medical Services set up a casualty collection point at the Carpinteria Veterans Memorial Building to take care of patients on the eastern end of Montecito, Navarro said.

There was flooding at Arroyo Paredon, and creek waters flowed over Highway 101 in multiple places, he said.

Two people were rescued out of a creek and several others were rescued out of vehicles.

From the Veterans Hall, anyone needing hospitalization would have been taken to Ventura since Santa Barbara was inaccessible, he said.

Crews use heavy equipment to clear debris from North Jameson Lane in Montecito on Thursday. Click to view larger
Crews use heavy equipment to clear debris from North Jameson Lane in Montecito on Thursday. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District is part of the emergency response for Montecito, handling search and rescue efforts within its own fire district, Navarro said.

“Operations (Thursday) were secondary search and rescue with task force teams,” he said.

They searched in upper Toro Canyon, above the 800 block, on Thursday, where there is thick debris due to mudslides, he added.

“Carpinteria almost became its own little entity. Summerland and Carpinteria were taking care of itself, so to speak,” Navarro said.

Flooding damage was relatively minor in those areas compared to Montecito, but they are feeling the impacts of utility outages.

Cox Communications outages mean no internet, phone or cable service for their customers in Carpinteria and Summerland, which is hard for people wanting news of the disaster, Navarro said.

“There are people in hotels who evacuated or can’t get back, and they don’t know what’s going on unless they have a cellular connection.”

The Urban Hikers, Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright, made their way to Summerland Thursday to see the impacts in person and report back.

Summerland residents Jordan Fife, Scott Linde, Arna Bajraktarevic, Nikki Fuhrer and Nicole Fuhrer wait at Tinker’s Burgers for the water delivery from Santa Barbara County Thursday. Click to view larger
Summerland residents Jordan Fife, Scott Linde, Arna Bajraktarevic, Nikki Fuhrer and Nicole Fuhrer wait at Tinker’s Burgers for the water delivery from Santa Barbara County Thursday. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

There was very little damage to the community, they noted. 

“There is, however, a sense of unease and impending peril to many of the residents of Summerland,” they reported.

“Like Montecito and Carpinteria, those stranded in Summerland have no internet service. They have relied upon spotty cell service on their phones to keep them connected to family, friends and news updates.”

Summerland residents, in particular, feel neglected in post-storm news coverage and are physically blocked in by road closures.

As of Thursday, Summerland residents could get south to Carpinteria by taking Calle Real, Nidever and Foothill roads.

Highway 101 is still closed for debris removal, and Calle Real was as well, east of Nidever Road, the Urban Hikers reported.

Since Amtrak resumed passenger rail service, Summerland-area residents can get access via train to Santa Barbara and Ventura, via the Carpinteria stop.

The Montecito Water District has major storm damage to its water distribution system, and Summerland, which is served by the district, has been conserving water in the hopes of making the Ortega Ridge Reservoir supplies last.

The South Coast Conduit, which supplies the reservoir from Lake Cachuma, was offline Tuesday to Thursday because of the storm, but appears to be undamaged and is operating again.

That wasn’t the case earlier Thursday, and worried residents waited for hours at the Summerland Post Office for a potable water delivery from the county Public Works Department.

“Fliers posted at the Summerland Fire Department announced today’s water delivery, which was scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Residents began to congregate at the delivery site well before 1 p.m. After a delay of two hours, the water arrived at the Post Office at 3:30, and residents helped unload it and lined up to receive the much needed water,” the Urban Hikers reported.

The Carpinteria Albertsons and Smart and Final stores were “stocked pretty well” as of Thursday, but supplies can’t get much north of there, Navarro said.  

“What I think is really hurting is our businesses,” including day-trip tourism, he said.

“Summerland is like a ghost town, nobody can really open, there’s nobody there.”

Cellular service was spotty but fairly reliable this week, Navarro said, and he advises residents to use their smart phones to get information, including from the Santa Barbara County incident page and the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Facebook page.

Click here for the Noozhawk update and resources page for the Montecito floods. 

“The issue we still have, the big concern, is the next rain,” Navarro said.

“If the next rain comes, any one of the 17 (burned) canyons, and there are six in our area, can let loose, and we’re concerned. We’re not standing down.”

The Thomas Fire burned a huge amount of watershed areas in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and the effects will be felt for years.

“This is the first year. We’re looking at two to three years of similar concern whenever we have rain,” Navarro said.

The Urban Hikers contributed to this story.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Summerland’s water supply comes from the Ortega Ridge Reservoir and that supply was limited Thursday as the Montecito Water District assessed damage to its pipeline system and the South Coast Conduit was not delivering water. Click to view larger
Summerland’s water supply comes from the Ortega Ridge Reservoir and that supply was limited Thursday as the Montecito Water District assessed damage to its pipeline system and the South Coast Conduit was not delivering water.  (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

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