Search Continues For Survivors After Southern California Mudslides Hit

"There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after", Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said earlier on a muddy Montecito street especially hard-hit by the mudslide.

The mudslides struck the communities hit hard by the Thomas fire in December, the largest wildfire in California's modern history.

Santa Barbara County Sherriff's office spokesperson Kelly Hoover confirmed 13 people died as a result of the deadly weather conditions.

Crews rescued 50 people by air and dozens more by ground, with about 500 firefighters responding from across the state.

Flooding and debris flow prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut down the northbound 101 Freeway at Route 126 in Ventura and at Seacliff, and the southbound 101 Freeway just south of Santa Barbara at Milpas. He noted the possibility that some of the people listed as missing may not be in the area and may not have checked in with friends, or realize that they are listed as missing. (Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via Reuters) A search dog looks for victims in damaged homes after a mudslide in Montecito, Calif. on Jan 9. About 7,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders.

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A wealthy Montecito neighborhood was also swamped with mud after the mudslides. The danger zone extended 100 miles from Santa Barbara to Duarte, a region scorched by wildfires.

Heavy rains unleashed destructive rivers of mud and debris in Southern California on Tuesday - leaving at least 13 people dead, destroying homes and spurring rescues as the flooding forced heavily traveled roads to close. Most of the injuries were caused by fast-moving debris, said Dr. Brett Wilson, the hospital's emergency director.

Berkeley Johnson, a Montecito resident who narrowly escaped the onslaught that wiped out his home, made the life-saving discovery Tuesday, Santa Barbara City Fire spokeswoman Amber Anderson told TIME.

Excavators carrying rescuers in their buckets plowed through mud-coated roads in search of the missing after some areas were buried in as much as 15 feet of mud, emergency officials said.

Oprah posted a video on Instagram showing her wading through almost knee-deep mud on her Montecito property. Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe also have residences in the area. "There were many homes, about 40 to 45 homes, affected by it, a couple homes damaged", Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief John Owings told local TV news channel KCAL9. Erik Ortiz reported from NY.

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