'Window closing' for California mudslide searchers as death toll rises

7 Missing in Montecito Mudslides title

7 Missing in Montecito Mudslides

Those wildfires have also been blamed for worsening the mudslide death toll.

The mudslides were first reported on this past Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Southern California.

The team was requested by authorities in Santa Barbara County earlier Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

Santa Barbara County officials raised the estimate late Thursday local time, after starting the day saying search-and-rescue crews were looking for eight missing people.

The founder of a Catholic school in Ventura is among the fatalities caused by mudslides in Southern California, which have left at least 17 people dead and many others missing or injured in Montecito. The victims who died during the storm and mudflows early Tuesday range in age from 3 to 89.

Firefighters slogged through mud and debris to reach 14-year-old Laura Cantin in a rescue effort that took almost six hours Tuesday in Santa Barbara County.

Pitney said many rescues were still happening Wednesday and Thursday, but most if not all were of people who were safe but just wanted to get out of the area.

The unincorporated area of Montecito was put under a mandatory evacuation order on Thursday and more than 500 homes in the county were damaged or destroyed, according to numbers released by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

"We are anticipating that this will be in effect for at least a week", Brown said. An active search and rescue operation is ongoing, officials said.

"Everyone loves her. She truly was one of a kind", Brewer said.

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"Auto and pedestrian traffic in the exclusionary zone has reached a point that it is seriously impacting the ability of search and rescue, public works, other first responders and fix crews to clear roadways and to engage in search and rescue, fix and damage-assessment operations", he said. He and his parents put belongings in three cars in case they made a decision to leave before the storm. "... We didn't take it serious (ly) enough".

The youngest victim, Kailly Benitez, is just 3-years-old.

"There are four juveniles on the list", he said. We are sorry to report that her house was completely washed away and more heartbreak is that her husband Dave and her 16-year old son Jack are still missing. "We can't get in, we can't get out unless you get escorted by the police", Montecito resident Matt McAllister said.

That alert went to the area affected by last month's Thomas Fire at 2:46 a.m. Tuesday, but Santa Barbara officials were concerned it didn't reach certain Verizon customers. It wasn't fully contained until this week.

AMBER ANDERSON: We are doing a thorough search of the area.

Montecito may be at slightly less risk now, because this week's flooding already brought down vulnerable material. More than 1,200 workers were said to be at the scene.

What can be done? In Burbank, a debris basin partially collapsed.

"Seemed like just heavy rain", he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted the state's request for expanded federal disaster assistance in response to the devastating mudslides that have impacted Santa Barbara County and the community of Montecito, according to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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