Harry and Meghan among celebrities affected by Montecito evacuation order

Office workers in London, watching the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's documentary on a large TV screen.
Office workers in London watch Harry and Meghan’s recent documentary, a portion of which was filmed in their Montecito home.
(Jonathan Brady / PA Images/Getty Images)
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When Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle purchased a sprawling estate in Montecito for nearly $15 million in 2020, they didn’t have this in mind.

An order Monday from the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management told all residents of the tony seaside town to “leave now.” Powerful rains have caused flooding in the area, and strong winds have hurled debris onto roadways.

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Those who choose not to evacuate should be ready to “sustain yourself and your household for multiple days,” the order said, as residents “may not be able to leave the area, and emergency responders may not be able to access your property in the event of road damage, flooding or a debris flow.”

It was unclear whether anyone at the royal couple’s home had evacuated — or, indeed, whether Harry, Meghan or their children, Archie and Lilibet, were on the premises. Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pounding rain prompted major evacuations Monday in Santa Barbara County, including for all of Montecito as well as surrounding communities.

Jan. 9, 2023

This was the biggest storm to hit the area since the couple purchased the home in the summer of 2020. The 7-acre property includes a 14,500-square-foot main house and a two-bedroom guesthouse, as well as a teahouse, tennis court and pool.

A number of other celebrities make their homes in Montecito, where the perks of living in a scenic coastal enclave come with weather-related risks.

On Monday afternoon, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted that she was asked to shelter in place at her Montecito home. In a video, she stood next to a gushing creek and said, “We need to be nicer to Mother Nature, ’cause Mother Nature’s not happy with us.”

Five years ago today, a storm unleashed mudslides that killed 23 people in Montecito and destroyed more than 100 homes. Oprah Winfrey, another Montecito homeowner, posted on Instagram at the time about the devastation.