A Huge Mudslide Just Tore Through California. This Is The Aftermath

12 January, 2018, 15:07 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Davis Doty with 'Jester' from Orange County Search and Rescue work to locate bodies along Olive Mill Road at Hot Springs Road in Montecito Wednesday

"What a day! Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara".

Fifty-nine homes were destroyed, and another 446 were damaged. Eight commercial properties were destroyed and 20 damaged. High temperatures are expected to be in the upper 60s to mid 70s from Thursday through the weekend.

Hundreds of rescuers are combing through the wreckage of an area of southern California that was engulfed by mudslides.

"We still have to have hope and believe that people can be found".

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.

"It was always a full life with Josie". Kagel Canyon resident Patricia Beckmann Wells told the Los Angeles Times she expects to be trapped in her neighborhood. When Josie Gower, 69, opened the front door of her Montecito home, she was fatally swept downhill for miles.

Montecito is home to stars including Oprah Winfrey, whose home was among those inundated with mud.

"We do have key staff there".

"Seems calm now. We feel safe".

County sheriff officials said all the fatalities occurred in Montecito, the wealthy enclave where flash floods swept down charred hills recently devastated by wildfires. Some will drive inland to access Interstate 5.

Mr Tighe is CEO of Direct Relief, a Californian charitable organisation based in Santa Barbara that helps disaster victims. "She's so little she was only like 100 pounds (45.36 kg)". Fire spokesman MIke Eliason said the girl had been trapped for hours.

"These were people that were sheltered in place that had needs that just took a while to get to some of them", Pitney said.

A search dog looks for victims in damaged homes after a mudslide in Montecito California U.S. in this
A Huge Mudslide Just Tore Through California. This Is The Aftermath

Amtrak service in Santa Barbara is suspended through at least Thursday as crews work to reopen train tracks.

Last month's spate of wildfires, including the largest in California history, burned away grass and shrubs that held soil in place, and baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground.

All of the dead were killed by "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides", authorities said.

Search teams have worked around the clock, locating the dead, rescuing others and evacuating those who were simply stuck in homes but otherwise unharmed.

Montecito may be at slightly less at risk now, because this week's flooding already brought down vulnerable material. And more rain is coming.

What can be done?

The rain fell at more than 1.5 inches per hour at one point early Tuesday in parts of Southern California.

"Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where risky mud and debris flows are possible", said the National Weather Service in a statement.

Mudslides are not uncommon to the area.

The number of fatalities surpassed the death toll from a California mudslide on January 10, 2005, when 10 people were killed as a hillside gave way in the town of La Conchita, less than 20 miles (30 km) south of the latest disaster. But county emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to use the cellphone push alert system until 3:50 a.m. Tuesday out of concern it might not be taken seriously. "This is a constantly changing list", he said.

An evacuation order was issued in a section of the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, which was hit by a mudslide that pulled cars out of driveways and carried them downstream. BEFORE AND AFTER: Hwy 101 in SoCal flooded with runoff waterSanta Barbara County authorities sent a shudder through the community early Thursday when they reported that the number of people unaccounted for had surged from 16 to 48.

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