Das Williams

Future floods will be in mind as California town rebuilds

After power and drinking water return, and cleanup crews haul away the last of the boulders and muck that splintered homes like a battering ram, the wealthy seaside hideaway of Montecito, California, will start rebuilding with the possibility of another catastrophic flood in mind.

Though parts of the town of about 9,000 were spared, the debris flows leveled entire blocks as they killed at least 20 people last week. Sewer lines were ruptured, fire hydrants sheared off, power lines downed.

While an aggressive cleanup could mean Montecito will welcome visitors again in weeks, the rebuilding of infrastructure and hundreds of homes will be measured in months and years. It...

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