18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

More than 5 inches of rain fell in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, which said rainfall rates were "unprecedented". "As of Wednesday night, officials say the almost 500 people involved in search efforts had gone through about 75 percent of the 50-plus homes destroyed, and almost 450 damaged in their hunt for more survivors".

DeGeneres became emotional when talking about the community in which she lives with wife Portia De Rossi.

"I don't know how the baby survived", Mr Berkeley told the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper.

According to some reports, more than 160 people were transported to hospitals for storm-related injuries. "I think all of us have learned our lessons on this one".

"And there are families missing, there are people who are missing family members".

Crews performed at least 50 rescues to save people trapped in vehicles and buildings.

Rescue efforts are fully mobilized, he said, adding that there are now 683 rescue workers, up from 450 on Wednesday, involved in the disaster relief efforts. A family assistance center was set up at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave., in Santa Barbara to help victims find friends or family who may have been affected by the storm. "This is the 101 freeway in my neighborhood right now". She said that her property was fine and that the damage "pales in comparison" to what her neighbors were going through. "But we just feel lucky that we were able to get out and (are) alive".

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Here are some of the scenes of the harrowing damage caused by mudslides throughout the area.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption.

The mudslide was so powerful it swept several homes completely away and wrapped cars around trees.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the risk of flooding stays "significantly higher" for up to five years after a wildfire.

Crews marked places where bodies were found, often far away from a home, and used that information to guess where other victims might have ended up as the surging mud carried or buried them. The event that has forced thousands to evacuate their homes. The blaze burned more than 440 square miles and more than 1,000 homes, businesses and other buildings in the area last month.

There has been extensive damage to the water supply infrastructure, and residents are instructed to boil water before drinking it.

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