“This is the five-year anniversary from the fire and mudslides that killed so many people. People lost their homes, their lives. This is crazy,” she added, referring to the 2018 event that killed 23 people and destroyed more than 100 homes.
“On the five-year anniversary, we’re having unprecedented rain,” she continued. “This creek next to our house never flows, ever. It’s probably about 9 feet up, and it’s going another 2 feet up.”
DeGeneres added that she and her wife, Portia de Rossi, “have horses ready to evacuate” and urged those watching “to be nicer to Mother Nature, ’cause Mother Nature is not happy with us.” Montecito’s evacuation order includes an estimated 10,000 people.
Fire Chief Kevin Taylor said the wealthy coastal enclave saw 8 inches of rain in a period of 12 hours. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said evacuations were ordered due to the “continuing high rate of rainfall with no indication that that is going to change before nightfall.”
Montecito is home to other high-profile celebrities including Prince Harry and his Meghan Markle, as well as Oprah Winfrey, according to People. The three filmed the 2021 interview about Harry and Meghan’s exit from the royal family at Oprah’s house.
Twelve people in California had already died from storm-related impacts when President Joe Biden declared a federal state of emergency on Monday, after a request from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Since then, the search for a 5-year-old boy washed away in the floods was called off due to worsening conditions, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said.
DeGeneres evacuated the area in 2018, when the storm that killed nearly two dozen people hit Montecito. The former talk show host discussed that incident on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in an emotional FaceTime call with one of her famous neighbors.
“What’s devastating is that we lost so many lives,” Oprah said at the time.
“But we’re going to do what we do,” she added. “We’re going to come together and we’re going to do what great Americans do all the time. We’re going to help each other. We’re going to help each other out wherever needed.”