Death toll hits 17 in California mudslides

A luxury sports car was covered in mud and debris after a massive mudslide in Montecito California

Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and fix power, water and gas lines. Rescues were partly reflected in the tally of missing, which was revised to eight from 17 on Thursday morning. Edhat is providing these posts in case anyone has an update that can help the families.

In Montecito, a 14-year-old girl was rescued after several hours from the rubble of a home destroyed by the heavy rains.

He said it's likely they'll find more people amid that destruction.

Josie Gower held onto a door frame when a devastating river of mud rushed inside her Montecito home.

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, County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said Wednesday.

A short drive from the centre of Santa Barbara, the small neighbourhood of Montecito, known as an enclave of celebrities and billionaires, was one of the areas worst hit by the mudslides.

Montecito and Carpinteria are especially vulnerable to mudslides because the steep terrain in some places goes from thousands of feet above sea level to sea level in just a few miles, said Tom Fayram, a deputy public works director with Santa Barbara County.

She stood in mud as she said she was "devastated" by the damage to her neighbour's house.

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"All hell broke loose", said Peter Hartmann, a dentist who moonlights as a news photographer for the local website Noozhawk.

By early Tuesday afternoon, more than 5.5 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Ventura County over two days, the National Weather Service said.

She said: "It's not just a wealthy community, it's filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds".

Bill Brown, sheriff of Santa Barbara, said: "The best way I can describe it is, it looked like a World War One battlefield".

ROTT: The mudslides have closed roads, including a section of the Pacific Coast Highway. Officials later confirmed the fire was related to a gas leak that was caused by the debris flow.

Tighe says there was no mandatory evacuation for her community.

Triggered by heavy rains, the massive slide struck before dawn on Tuesday, when a wall of mud and debris cascaded down hillsides that were denuded last month by wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, the largest blaze in the state's history.

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