The 9,000 person town to the east of Santa Barbara has been empty since Tuesday, when mandatory evacuations forced residents out of their homes for the fifth time in four months.

This week it was a channel of tropical moisture called the Pineapple Express, dumping bands of intense rain and triggering flash floods throughout Southern California.

In January it was a once-in-a-200-year storm that dropped half an inch of water in five minutes, unleashing massive mudslides that ripped houses from their foundations and killed 27.

To some, Montecito might just seem like a town hit by a string of superlatively bad luck.

In fact, it’s what he would call a “textbook “atmospheric river.

“But it’s aimed directly at these burn scar regions which are incredibly vulnerable to flooding and debris flows.”

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