California mudslide toll hits 17


Storms Trigger Mudslides in Calif. Burn Areas, Kills 2

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.

Before the storm hit, Santa Barbara issued mandatory evacuations for 7,000 people, including in parts of Carpinteria, Montecito and Goleta, which are below areas scorched by wildfires, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said.

Anne Marie Cullen was one of the rescue workers combing through homes with a cadaver-sniffing dog, looking for people vanished in the mudslides.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error. Authorities said on Thursday night that 43 people were not accounted for.

Brown, who spoke during an afternoon news conference, said the area hit hard by mudslides and flooding is an "active rescue area" and asked anyone who doesn't need to be there to stay away.

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

The former talk-show host, whose Golden Globes speech spurred chatter about a 2020 run, shared a video montage to her Instagram account depicting damage done to her 65-acre Santa Barbara County property, People magazine reported.

"It is heavy. It's wet".

He yells: "Oh my god, Mom!" before sprinting back into the house.

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The search was set to expand with the arrival of a major search-and-rescue team from nearby Los Angeles County and help from the Coast Guard and the National Guard.

This series of before and after images illustrate the damage in the Montecito area where some of the worst impacts were felt. The walls at one end of a home had disappeared, leaving its roof hanging precariously. Downed power lines wrapped around trees at one property, while elsewhere the lines dropped nearly to the ground. Elsewhere, cars were perched on mounds of earth and garage doors had caved in.

"If you tell everyone to get out, everyone get out, the next time people won't listen", Jeff Gater, Santa Barbara County's emergency manager, said Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"There are four juveniles on the list", he said.

The dead were identified - all from Montecito, ranging in age from 3 to 89 years old. "We've lost so many lives and it's a tiny community and nobody would've expected, certainly, I did not, that after we survived the fire and the rain came, who would've expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon".

Search efforts are being hampered by a treacherous landscape strewn with boulders and rescuers having to tackle a cement-like mud which reaches shoulder-high in some places.

The deluge destroyed 100 houses and damaged 300 others, Santa Barbara County authorities said.

"I'm heartbroken for our community of Montecito", she said.

"The girl's OK. It's unbelievable", he said. "Two sixth graders in the school our kids went to".

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