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Residents return home after evacuations lifted - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Residents return home after evacuations lifted

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After days of closed roads, residents in areas of Carpinteria and Summerland were able to leave their homes for supplies or return home.

Crews continued to clear debris from Highway 192 stretching from Sheffield Drive into Montecito.  Residents on Highway 192 last Ortega Road, however, finally got good news - the voluntary evacuation orders were lifted.

But those roads opened with restrictions.  "I had to take a form of mail that had my address on it so they would let me back in," Tony Morris, a resident just a block from the intersection of Ortega Road and Highway 192.

Morris's home was in a voluntary evacuation zone, and left for the first time Saturday to restock on food and water.  And despite needing a piece of mail to get back in, he was happy to see the check points.  "This is not a time to play tourist and to have your nice little Sunday drives out in the country," he said.

Like Morris, neighbors nearby who stayed say they were eventually told to shelter in place, but lost connection with the outside world.  "It wasn't until I was able to drive over the hill to summer land to get a signal where I could actually respond and say yes I'm okay," he said holding up his phone.

Many homes still lack electricity and running water due to storm damage, but that's a small problem to Morris, who says "a little bit of inconvenience is nothing compared to what some of these other people are having to deal with."

Most roads are still considered closed - with equipment and crews moving up and down to work on highly damaged areas.  Officers at each intersection in the now evacuation free zone must confirm a resident lives at a home in that neighborhood.  It's a step most don't mind.

The roads did open at noon, but one CHP officer said he only saw two residents drive into the neighborhood by noon.  By 3:30 p.m. cars were lined up to enter back into a neighborhood that hopes to regain some "normalcy" in the next few weeks.

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