6 killed in Santa Barbara County as storm triggers mudflows

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At least two people have died in weather-related incidents in Santa Barbara as the Southland's first major winter storm prompted mudflows in the Thomas Fire burn area. (KABC)

At least six people have died in weather-related incidents in Santa Barbara County, authorities said Tuesday, as the Southland's first major winter storm prompted flooding and mudflows that forced the closure of the 101 Freeway in the Thomas Fire burn area.

The fatalities occurred in the Montecito area, according to a county sheriff's spokesperson. Details of the circumstances were not immediately disclosed.

The California Highway Patrol shut down the northbound 101 at Route 126 in Ventura, and the southbound 101 was closed just south of Santa Barbara.



The closure was due to flooding, debris flows and an explosion apparently caused by a ruptured gas line, according to authorities.

Motorists were urged to avoid the area use the 5 Freeway as an alternative route.

Elsewhere in the Thomas Fire's massive burn area, Route 33 was shut down north of Ojai -- between Fairview and Lockwood roads, the highway patrol said.

Caltrans also announced the closure of Route 150 near Lake Casitas.

There were no estimates of when the highways would be reopened.

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