At Least 15 Dead After Southern California Mudslides

Image Montecito

The death toll from devastating mudslides - caused by torrential rains in wildfire-scarred areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in Southern California - climbed to 17 Wednesday as rescue crews with dogs and thermal-imaging equipment searched for anyone trapped, injured or dead. "The large amounts of mud and debris are making access and progress challenging", Friday's Santa Barbara County Fire incident update said.

At least 13 people are dead amid "waist-deep" mudslides in Southern California, where heavy rains triggered flooding, say officials.

Eight people are still missing in deadly mudslides that have claimed 17 lives so far in Santa Barbara County in the western USA state of California, local authorities said Thursday.

Thirteen people have been killed by mudslides in California but the number is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue.

Helicopters rescued dozens of stranded people.

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Near their property, a least two homes were carried off their foundations by the force of the mudslides - and as bulldozers began to clear muck and debris from areas already searched by rescue teams, utility crews have started trying to fix downed power lines and snapped telephone poles. They carried one teenage girl on a stretcher who had been trapped in her flooded home for hours. As of January 10, 13 people were killed and more than 160 others were injured.

"One of the things that I want to talk about is you know, we've had these awful fires all over California and one of the hardest hit areas is where I live in Montecito".

Winfrey posted a video on Instagram showing her wading through almost knee-deep mud on her Montecito property.

Heavy downpours struck before dawn on Tuesday after 7,000 residents in Santa Barbara County were ordered to evacuate and another 23,000 were urged to do so voluntarily, some of them for a second time since last month. The destruction was described by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown as looking "like a World War I battlefield". Before, he posted that he was under mandatory evacuation.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption. This type of soil can not absorb water as easily, making the region more vulnerable to mudslides during heavy rains-such as the ones that dumped five inches of rain on parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties this week.

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