Rescue crews still working on So Cal mudslides

Rescue crews still working on So Cal mudslides

The most impacted area has been Montecito, the wealthiest community in Santa Barbara county. Burn areas are more susceptible to flooding because rain bounces off the barren surface instead of being absorbed into the soil.

"The correct number of missing is down to eight", Mike Eliason, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, told Xinhua in a phone interview. "I'm glad we got it out but who knows what else is out there".

Police say 17 people remain missing. In all, it dumped over five inches of rain on Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The rain was lighter in the desert than in coastal areas, but the downpour shattered a January 9 Palm Springs record of 1.13 inches set in 1980, according to the weather service.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around Montecito, the Associated Press reported. With nowhere to go, they crawled out of a window to reach the roof, he said.

"There were gas mains that had popped, where you could hear the hissing", he said. "Water was flowing out of water mains and sheared-off fire hydrants". "Many chose to stay in place", Brown said. About 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate.

Local fire chief Anthony Buzzerio said around three quarters of the affected area has now been searched - with some rescuers falling down manholes and into swimming pools that have been covered up.

The chat show host paid tribute to the "amazing" rescue teams as helicopters were used to lift people stranded on rooftops after roads were left impassable due to downed trees and power lines. "I'm heartbroken for our community of Montecito". One such piece of equipment grabbed a piece of a auto. "It's crusty on top but soft underneath, so we're having to be very careful".

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"This is the street in front of our house", she said.

"Mud came in an instant, like a dam breaking". The houses were worth upwards of $3 million, but now they are unrecognizable. And now a massive rescue operation is underway along the southern California coast. Cars were swept down a canyon in Burbank, where authorities were concerned a 100-year-old catch basin would unleash more debris. At one spot, a vehicle appeared to be sheared in half - its front half pointed skyward, jammed against a pile of muddy wreckage.

The TV icon's estate was caught up in flooding and mudslides that have killed at least 13 in California.

The mudslides closed several historic hotels, including The Four Seasons Biltmore, which had just reopened on Monday after repairing wildfire damage.

Officials said numerous deaths are believed to be in the coastal Montecito area, where mudflows and floodwater have inundated areas downstream from where the Thomas Fire burned thousands of acres last month. It was 92 percent contained, and officials don't expect full containment until later this month.

"That's definitely at play here".

"It took everything in its path", Rios said.

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