18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

The 30-square mile affected area was placed under a mandatory evacuation order Thursday evening as incident officials deemed the area unsafe for occupation due to the hazardous and unstable environment. The mudslides ravaged the tony community, destroying at least 65 homes and damaging more than 460 others, officials said. On Thursday they believed dozens were unaccounted for, but the number was revised down.

The hard search goes on in Montecito, California, five days after storm-spawned mudslides roared down from fire-stripped hillsides and smashed through dozens of homes, killing at least 18 people and leaving others missing. Five people remain missing Sunday as crews continue to remove mud, boulders and downed trees five days after a powerful storm sent flash floods rushing through coastal Montecito.

The number of missing has fluctuated as people were located, said the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office. "We certainly hope there are going to be far fewer than that".

A month earlier, the family had evacuated to a Red Cross shelter for a night as a devastating wildfire that went on to blacken nearby mountains threatened their home and many others.

They said the victims were their friends and neighbours.

"It's just waiting and not knowing, and the more I haven't heard from them - we have to find them", Kelly Weimer, whose elderly parents remain missing, told the Associated Press.

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"Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", Bridges wrote on Twitter. The post came a day after the "A Wrinkle in Time" actress shared on the photo-sharing platform a series of videos of the current state of Santa Barbara County.

Mr Farrell said he and his family were able to escape injury by hunkering down in a hallway at the back of the house and standing in thigh-high mud for more than an hour before they were rescued. You don't know the power of a mudslide.

He and his partner of 17 years, Ralph "Lalo" Barajas, were swept out of their home before dawn Tuesday by the devastating slide. "I'm told there was about 5 feet (1.5m) of mud". "I love this community. I don't know how I got lulled". "I feel like I escaped". Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary. They then issued a county-wide alert at 3:51 a.m., when the debris flow was already starting.

Mr Farrell told ABC News 7: "The scariest thing was the sound". The U.S. 101 freeway and many surrounding roads are closed indefinitely as crews continue to clear mud and rocks from the community inundated by flash floods last week.

The death toll climbed as emergency workers pulled bodies from the river of knee-deep debris which descended on the community of Montecito and the surrounding Romero Canyon area after a torrent of rain earlier in the week.

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