Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Montecito home feared 'in danger' after locals evacuated

Residents of The Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' Californian hometown were ordered to evacuate due to flooding and mudslide threat.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle looking tense
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Montecito home was feared to be 'in danger' after locals were evacuated following flash flood warnings.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Montecito hometown (opens in new tab) was ordered to completely evacuate after a flash flood warning was issued for the community.

Approximately 10,000 people were told to evacuate on Monday (January 9th) - and it comes on the fifth anniversary of the mudslide that killed 23 people and destroyed more than 100 homes.

Prince Harry has been on the road publicising the release of his new memoir Spare (opens in new tab) and on Monday night, when the evacuation was issued, Prince Harry was filming a late-night talk show in New York. 

Despite calls from the local fire department telling residents "LEAVE NOW! This is a rapidly evolving situation. Please pay close attention to emergency alerts," it's understood that Meghan decided to remain at home with their two children Archie (opens in new tab), three, and Lilibet (opens in new tab), one.

At the time, the fire department explained "Over the last 30 days, Montecito has received 12-20+ inches of rain across the community, exceeding our yearly average of 17 inches."

The storm is thought to have claimed the lives of 14 people so far.

The local fire department later issued an update, telling residents that the evacuation order was lifted at 2pm on Tuesday "for the impacted areas of City of Carpinteria, Montecito, and City of Santa Barbara. Shelter in Place for impacted areas of the Cave Fire Burn Scar and Alisal Burn Scar and Foxen Canyon/Santa Maria Mesa/Tepusquet areas have also been lifted.

It added, "Please be advised that areas affected by road closures may not be able to repopulate yet."

Montecito flooding roads with cars

(Image credit: Getty)

But while many residents can return home they were warned, "We remind everyone that this was a serious storm that caused impacts across the County. Please be aware of loose and falling rocks, minor landslides, wet road conditions, down trees and lines."

Former The Ellen Show host Ellen DeGeneres, who has interviewed Meghan (opens in new tab) on her show in 2021, uploaded a video to her Twitter feed to update her followers on the rapidly changing situation and she captioned it, "Montecito is under mandatory evacuation. We are on higher ground so they asked us to shelter in place. Please stay safe everyone."

In the clip Ellen explained why the rising waters are particularly concerning, "Montecito is under complete evacuation, the entire town, this is the five year anniversary of the fire and mudslides that killed so many people and people lost their homes, their lives, this is crazy, on the five year anniversary we're having unprecedented rain.

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Ellen continued, "This creek next to our house never flows ever, it's probably about nine feet up and it's going to go another two feet up. We have horses ready to evacuate, we need to be nicer to mother nature because mother nature is not happy with us. Let's all do our part, stay safe everybody," she concluded.

And in the clip you can see the raging torrent of muddy water flowing past in the overflowing creek behind her.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.