Deadly Mudslides Strike in Southern California

Sunday, 14 Jan, 2018

That started yesterday immediately after that debris flow.

Authorities now say 17 people have died in Southern California mudslides and another 17 are missing.

The damage was spread over 30-square-miles, according to the Associated Press.

"We can't get to them, and they can't get to us", Yaneris Muniz, spokesperson for Santa Barbara County, said in a statement.

"What they were was a bunch of trees that were being snapped by the mud and boulders and debris that were sliding down Toro Canyon", Jonathan Reichlen, 45, who owns an urban landscaping company, said in a phone interview.

The county's Sheriff Bill Brown told CBS This Morning that officials are now working to identify people who may still be trapped, particularly in isolated areas.

"We have a lot of clues and indications as to who people are; we have to get this right", Brown said, adding the identities of the deceased will be released sometime in the future.

The fire department published a picture of the girl encased in mud as she was led to safety.

A home on Glen Oaks Road damaged by mudslides in Montecito, California, U.S., January 10, 2018. Sheriff deputies and other first responders had to cautiously pick through debris to access shattered homes.

Numerous celebrities have homes in the area.

"I have lived here my whole life", said Melissa Ausanka-Crues, 29, a nurse. "Praying for the survivors and preparing for whatever may come".

Local fire officials reported rescuing several people in the area, including a mother and her daughter who were caked in mud.

"What a day!" Winfrey said. "Looking for missing persons".

Ellen DeGeneres also shared an image of the devastation near her home on Twitter, saying: 'This is not a river.

"This is the street in front of our house", she said. I know our strong community will regain its footing and we will recover. I extend my deepest gratitude to our emergency personnel for their extraordinary bravery and rescue efforts. "Montecito needs your love and support".

A 14-year-old girl covered in mud was rescued on Tuesday, after being trapped for several hours in a collapsed house in Montecito.

The mudslides and floodwaters have most affected areas in close proximity to wildfires that raged recently in Southern California, including the Thomas Fire, which has burned 281,893 acres to date.

The disaster followed a violent rainstorm that dropped as much as 15cm of rain in pockets northwest of Los Angeles, soaking ground that was left vulnerable after much of its vegetation burned last month.

Boulders as big as cars were seen rolling down the hillsides during the deluge.

A part of Highway 101, was inundated forcing a shut down of a 50-km stretch between Santa Barbara and Ventura, including the part that runs through Montecito, until Thursday night.