California mud raked for missing residents

California mud raked for missing residents

The death toll from a mudslide in California rose to at least 17 people on Wednesday as rescue crews continued to search for another 17 missing people.

This is why mudslides are so risky - they build speed so quickly and get bigger as they pick up extra debris so can't always be predicted by rainfall. At least six homes were "wiped away from their foundations" by mudflow and debris, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said.

"We have an inordinate number of people in the area come to take a look, and they're impeding operations that are occurring out there", Brown said, adding that deputies would enforce a law that states any unauthorized person who enters a closed emergency area is committing a misdemeanor crime. Authorities said on Thursday night that 43 people were not accounted for.

Sheriff Bill Brown said the primary focus of first responders was "to evacuate those who are trapped and need help getting out".

"I think most people are really shocked at the extent of the damage and how big the impact was to the area", Brown said.

"It is heavy. It's wet". Brown apologized for the inconvenience, but he called the area "a very active rescue and recovery and fix zone right now".

The girl was led by firefighters from a pile of wood and debris that was once a house, a photo from Santa Barbara County Fire Department showed. The walls at one end of a home had completely disappeared, leaving its roof hanging precariously. "Power lines were down, high-voltage power lines". Elsewhere, cars were perched on mounds of earth and garage doors had caved in.


A dozen people were hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and four were in critical condition, Dr. Brett Wilson said.

The courtyard of the 90-year-old Montecito Inn, built by silent movie actor Charlie Chaplin, was filled with a thick crust of debris driven by the slides.

Two days after the Golden Globes and a speech that had everyone talking, Oprah Winfrey's thoughts are not on her presidential prospects but with her neighbors in Santa Barbara, California, where heavy rains have caused risky mudslides and led to fatalities.

"If they had", said Blum when referring to county officials, "they would've known where the water was going to go".

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.

Resident Rob Lowe offered condolences on social media.

Officials have ordered residents in a large swath of Montecito to stay in their homes so that rescuers can better go about their work.

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