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California Mudslides Death Toll Rises To 19, Residents Told To Evacuate

14 January 2018

"Floodwaters and mudslides destroyed 65 homes and damaged 462 other residences", spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild said Thursday, according to CNN. Active searches are underway as rain continues to fall from a huge winter storm that has soaked much of the state.

Mandatory evacuation orders were expanded Thursday evening to Montecito areas below Highway 192/Foothill road, a move Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said is meant to increase access for rescue and fix crews working in the area. "To get people here takes time and we're finally getting that request for influx".

Triggered by heavy rains, the massive slides struck before dawn on Tuesday.

Torrents like the ones that carved deadly and destructive paths through Montecito, California, during a powerful storm early are commonly described as mudslides, but geologists and emergency workers call them debris flows.

A further eight commercial buildings were destroyed while 20 others were damaged.

The number of missing has fluctuated as people were located, said the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office. So many times over the past 15 years, people have come up to me and say to me that when they're going through a tough time, this show helps them through it.

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The mudslide areas are under mandatory evacuation orders for at least a week, but the sheriff has cautioned residents to plan to be away for a full two weeks.

Rescuers have searched frantically for the missing after rivers of mud and boulders floodedthrough neighborhoods in and nearMontecito, an affluent seaside community east of Santa Barbara, demolishing homes and leaving roads impassable.

"It is heavy. It's wet".

Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said the likelihood is increasing that rescue crews will be finding bodies instead of survivors at this point.

Last night, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office made a plea for information on any of the missing residents.

Downed power lines wrapped around trees at one property, while elsewhere the lines dropped nearly to the ground.

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Elsewhere, cars carried away by the flow were perched on mounds of earth and mangled garage doors crushed by the mud rested at odd angles.

The area is home to some wealthy celebrities like Rob Lowe and Bella Hadid.


At noon on Saturday, the evacuation warning issued for areas south of Highway 192 between Ortega Ridge Road to the Santa Barbara County line will be lifted.

The mudslides were caused when heavy rain dumped half an inch of water on Montecito in five minutes, while nearby Carpinteria received almost an inch in 15 minutes.

"We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone", said local artist Garrett Speirs, 54.

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California Mudslides Death Toll Rises To 19, Residents Told To Evacuate