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18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

13 January 2018

The 18 people killed in mudslides in Southern California this week included children ages 3, 6, 10 and 12. About two dozen people in Santa Barbara County are unaccounted for, officials said.

Officials said Thursday morning that eight people remained missing after Tuesday's storm.

Roads have been washed out or covered by rivers of mud that also devastated residential neighborhoods.

"We do understand that the closure of Highway 101 is causing great hardships for many, many people", Pontes said.

Troy and about 16,000 other residents of Santa Barbara County were forced to evacuate their homes in December when the Thomas Fire burned the largest area of any in state history.

Most of the people of Montecito, a town usually known for its serenity and luxury, were under orders to stay out of town as gas and power were expected to be shut off Saturday for repairs. "I am praying and thinking so much for our friends in the hospital and their families that are still missing".

They slogged through ooze and poked long holes into the mud on Wednesday as they searched for victims a day after the massive debris flow passed through. "I should have just told her to leave".

One of the oldest victims was Roy Rohta, revered founder of a private Catholic school in nearby Ventura.

"We're going to be working in the debris piles", McTigue said. "But nothing remains of their house".

Aware of these environmental trends, officials warned about the potential of mudslides on local government websites and social media, as well as in news outlets and community emails. Friends said the woman's house was destroyed in the deluge.

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Riskin is survived by her husband, two grown children and a grandson.

Some of the searches had happy endings.

Almost in tears, Mobraaten spoke with a Red Cross volunteer outside the shelter.

But when the storm hit, she was "just exhausted", she said. The rainstorm that swept into Santa Barbara this week would not. She had no luck.

The mudslides began around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, when residents in their path were likely asleep.

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs. But it was the fire that led to the mudslide, by burning away vegetation. Brown apologized for the inconvenience, but he called the area "a very active rescue and recovery and fix zone right now".

A search and rescue dog is guided through properties after a mudslide in Montecito. "Helicopters rescuing my neighbors". Elms said emergency crews are still trying to fight their way through roadways made inaccessible by mudflow in the hopes of locating more survivors. For many this was the second time in two months after fires ravaged the area last month. In 34 years living in Montecito, he had never seen anything like Tuesday morning's deluge. "She was the life of the party, always, and loved us all so fiercely". "We should have heeded the warning". She moved to Montecito in the early 1990s.

Feil had to evacuate during the Thomas fire and said she was anxious that survivors who managed to get through the wildfire unscathed may have lost everything they own in Tuesday's debris flows. The Thomas Fire had forced her from home. "People who didn't lose their house in the fire - they just lost huge things in the mud". As she tried to look around her battered neighborhood, Feil said she spotted what she initially thought was a mannequin beneath railroad tracks.

"Everything right now is rumor", she said.

18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides