California mudslides lead to at least 13 deaths
- Author: Leroy Wright Jan 13, 2018,
Jan 13, 2018, 12:22
Officials said numerous deaths are believed to be in the coastal Montecito area, where mudflows and floodwater have inundated areas downstream from where the Thomas Fire burned thousands of acres last month.
The death toll in weather-related incidents in Santa Barbara County has risen to 17 early Wednesday, after a storm led to risky mudflows in the Thomas Fire burn area.
"We started looking around and that is when we saw parts of roofs, and there was a body against our next door neighbour's vehicle", Mr Funk, a financial adviser, said by phone.
Excavators carrying rescuers in their buckets ploughed through mud-coated roads in search of the missing after some areas were buried in as much as 4.6 metres of mud, emergency officials said. Authorities have deployed helicopters to reach stranded residents.
Search teams, including search-rescue dogs, continued to look for victims into Tuesday evening.
After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption.
Some 500 firefighters and other rescue workers were searching debris spread across a wide area of Montecito, a wealthy area of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles.
The devastation affected an area estimated at 30 square miles, according to Cal Fire. Several stars who live in the area took to social media to offer their support, including Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.
After months of wildfires raging throughout the Santa Barbara, San Diego, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties, the city of Montecito in Ventura was drenched with record-hitting levels of rain, floods, and mudslides.