Los Angeles Times

Emergency cellphone alerts didn't go out until after mudslides began in Montecito

LOS ANGELES - Santa Barbara County officials chose not to send an emergency alert to cellphones warning of mudslides until destructive flooding had already begun in Montecito, officials said Wednesday.

The message, similar to an Amber Alert for abducted children, was sent about 3:50 a.m. Tuesday to all registered cellphones in areas that were under voluntary and mandatory evacuations because of heavy rains that threatened mudflows in the wake of the Thomas fire, officials said.

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