California Mudslides Death Toll Rises To 18, Residents Told To Evacuate

The mudslides also injured almost 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Thursday that officials were expanding mandatory evacuation zones in the area because pedestrians and traffic are hindering rescue and fix operations.

"A majority of Montecito and that whole area is in the Stone Age right now", said Mike Eliason, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. At least 17 people died and dozens of residents are still unaccounted for.

A mudslide swept Roy Rohter, the founder of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California, and his wife out of their home in Montecito on Tuesday, according to the Catholic school's headmaster, Michael Van Hecke.

Santa Barbara County initially ordered 7,000 residents to evacuate and urged 23,000 to do so voluntarily, but only 10 to 15 percent complied, Anderson said.

The mudslides are the result of a powerful rainstorm that hit state's southern region on Monday, sending mud and left-over debris down the hillsides that were burned by the Thomas Fire. "This is how deep the mud is", she said, sloshing through the muck up to her knees.

"Coming back, it's nearly surreal to see the devastation, the mud flow, the debris", McTigue said in a phone interview hours after he arrived.

"The pinnacle of Rebecca's life's work and her lasting legacy lies in Riskin Partners and our enduring commitment to selling Montecito real estate", said Dina Landi, managing partner at Riskin Partners. Benitez's husband and another son were taken to a hospital, but the woman and her younger child had not been heard from.

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The search for victims of the disaster has carried on in Montecito, where crews are labouring to fix power, water and gas lines as well as clean up massive debris. "Why didn't she stay upstairs?" "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity".

He said the zone, which includes areas formerly under voluntary evacuation advisories, would be in effect for one week but that residents should plan for two. About 65 single-family homes were destroyed and another 446 were damaged.

A firefighter looks through a vehicle next to a home that was destroyed by a mudslide in Montecito, Calif.

These before and after images show the extent of the damage in Montecito. Other streets became rivers as the mud filled homes, blasted cars from garages, tore down trees and tumbled boulders like Legos.

However, county emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to use the mobile phone push alert system until 3.50am on Tuesday out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

Five people remained on the list Friday, including a two-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy possibly related to a 14-year-old girl pulled from the mud on Tuesday.

Hundreds of searchers are still hunting for survivors of the flash flooding and mudslides near Santa Barbara, California.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department released photos of U.S. Route 101 that was flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek. We had helicopters doing hoisting operations to rescue people that we were aware of as well continue to look for people who we are - were unaware of.

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