Several killed in Southern California mudslide

Ruben Ruiz
January 14, 2018

Santa Barbara County initially ordered 7,000 residents to evacuate and urged 23,000 to do so voluntarily, but only 10 to 15 percent complied, County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said Wednesday.

"Six homes near the coastal community of Montecito were wiped away from their foundations by mudflow and debris", CNN quoted Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason as saying.

Emergency services said a number of people are unaccounted for and they expect the death toll to rise.

The region is particularly vulnerable after the Thomas Fire last month - the largest in California history - burned huge areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Burn areas are more susceptible to flooding because rain bounces off the barren surface instead of being absorbed into the soil.

Santa Barbara County sheriff Bill Brown told "CBS This Morning" Wednesday that they're still looking for people who might be trapped or isolated in Montecito and the surrounding areas. "You know, we could have very easily just taken two more steps and we wouldn't be able to hear her at all", firefighter Andy Rupp said following the rescue.

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County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said that five people were found dead on Tuesday in Montecito and may have been killed as result of the storm.

The worst impacts were seen in Montecito and Carpinteria, where 65 homes were destroyed and almost 450 were damaged, authorities announced Wednesday.

Coast Guard video captured the dramatic rescue of an entire family including a newborn baby.

"I'm just exhausted. I can't seem to get my life kick-started", Teri Lebow, whose Montecito, California was damaged by the wildfires, told the Los Angeles Times. According to CBS Los Angeles, the flooding and mud flows, which were knee deep in some areas, left several big rigs and cars stranded in the closed portion of the freeway.

Among the damaged properties were historic hotels and the homes of celebrities including television personality Oprah Winfrey and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres in Montecito.

Other reports by GizPress

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