Several killed in Southern California mudslide

Firefighters in Montecito, Calif., managed to rescue a young woman who was trapped for several hours in the debris of a home destroyed by mudslides in the Santa Barbara County community on Tuesday.

Some 25 people were injured, with many more in danger across the region as hills left barren after weeks of fires were transformed by rainstorms early Tuesday morning into fast-moving rivers of mud and debris.

Nearly the entire community, about 10,000 people, are under a mandatory evacuation order that could last for up to two weeks, Santa Barbara County's fire chief said.

The mudslides struck the communities hit hard by the Thomas fire in December, the largest wildfire in California's modern history.

Emergency personnel rescue a man from flood waters and debris after a mudslide in Montecito, California, this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department January 9, 2018.

At least 13 people were killed and dozens more were injured early Tuesday morning after a heavy rainstorm propelled mud and debris through Montecito in Santa Barbara County.

Bill Brown, sheriff of Santa Barbara, said: "The best way I can describe it is, it looked like a World War One battlefield".

One resident, Benjamin Hyatt, told CNN that his neighbors evacuated to their roof, and his own house was "surrounded by mud".

Brown did say that of the 17 people he announced were missing Wednesday, some were identified as among the dead and were crossed off the list.

This comes after a record-setting year of $306 billion of weather and climate-related disaster costs in the United States, its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

US Coast Guard officials rescue a family including a young child from their home that was severely damaged after a mudslide.

"All hell broke loose", said Peter Hartmann, a dentist who moonlights as a news photographer for the local website Noozhawk. Eight commercial buildings were destroyed, and 20 were damaged.

Her home survived, but in a video she posted to Instagram on Wednesday, Winfrey stood in the mud to illustrate the scale of the destruction.

Dozens of stranded residents have been rescued by helicopter in areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties - some from their vehicles and others from rooftops.

Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gigi Hadid were among those who live in the coastal city where the nearby 101 Freeway turned into a muddy river, reported ABC News.

"We are now in search-and- rescue mode and have completed approximately 50 hoist rescues and several dozen contact rescues", Taylor said.

Officials in Santa Barbara County urged residents to seek shelter or move to higher ground and to "stay indoors and stay off the roads".

A teenager in Montecito was found, alive, so caked in mud she looked almost indistinguishable from the ruins she spent hours trapped inside.

  • Leroy Wright