…The latest in a series of unusually strong storms that have struck the nation’s most populous state in recent weeks, much of California is currently receiving rainfall that is four to six times higher than average, CNN reported. At least 14 people have died amid the chaos.

Five years ago on Jan. 10, 2018, a massive mudslide caused by similar weather conditions killed nearly two dozen people in the town of Montecito [near Santa Barbara].

“It’s amazing that this storm came five years to the day after the mudflow when 23 people died,” Father Lawrence Seyer, a local pastor, told Catholic News Agency.

“Ten of them had a connection to our parish, and we did quite a few funerals for them five years ago … thank God we didn’t have that kind of destruction this time, but flooding has been the main issue.”

Seyer is pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montecito, which is located on the Pacific coast about 100 miles west of Los Angeles. Seyer said he had been informed by someone at his parish that his church building remains unharmed as of Tuesday afternoon, but the nearby Montecito Creek continues to overflow its banks.

The entire town was ordered to evacuate on Monday because of significant flooding, mudslides, and debris flows. Montecito got nearly 10 inches of rain over 24 hours ending late Monday, CNN reported. Seyer said he is currently sheltering with a family member in a town about an hour southeast of his parish, having been unable to return to Montecito after traveling to Los Angeles for a meeting. Seyer also said he has not heard any reports of parishioners needing assistance with their evacuations.

….Seyer said the parish community is invoking the protection of St. Margaret of Hungary, who lived in the 13th century and is considered the patron saint of floods.

Full story in Angelus News.