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17 dead in California mudslides, 100 homes destroyed

13 January 2018

"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. Southern California, which just endured the largest wildfire in state history, is being bombarded by flooding and destructive mudslides triggered by torrential downpours.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday night that Montecito would be without potable water, electricity and sanitation "for an extended period of time".

"We are still very much in active search and rescue mode", Mr Elms said.

By the afternoon potentially dozens of people remained unaccounted for and first responders were evacuating hundreds of people trapped in a canyon. The vast majority of those homes were in areas already designated by authorities as under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

Montecito got more than a half-inch in five minutes, while nearby Carpinteria received almost an inch in 15 minutes, the AP news agency reported. Images in Montecito revealed overturned vehicles caked in mud, along with trees ripped from the ground right near people's homes. Meanwhile, eight commercial structures were destroyed and 20 commercial structures were damaged, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. But he confessed: "The likelihood is increasing that we'll be finding bodies, not survivors". Brown apologized for the inconvenience, but he called the area "a very active rescue and recovery and fix zone right now". Pounding rain weakened south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek, sending mud and huge rocks rolling into housing areas.

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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.

According to the US Geological Survey, a storm that strikes a fire-scarred area only needs a rainfall intensity of about 10 millimetres per hour to pose the risk of producing debris flows. Mud and debris cover roads, homes and everything in its path with one official saying it looks like a battlefield.

Among the residents of Montecito, an unincorporated community northwest of Los Angeles, is Oprah Winfrey. The fire started more than a month ago.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News.

17 dead in California mudslides, 100 homes destroyed