California storm, mudslides death toll at 15 as search for survivors continues

Ronen Tivony  Nur

Ronen Tivony Nur

Almost 100 homes were destroyed and 300 others were damaged.

Rescuers face difficulties because power lines, trees, and other debris have blocked roadways, and the US Coast Guard dispatched rescue helicopters, according to the New York Times. Firefighters struggled through the mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruinds of a home in Montecito, norrthwest of Los Angeles.

Mud and debris gather outside the Montecito Inn along Olive Mill Road in Montecito after a major storm hit the burn area January 9, 2018 in Montecito, California.

The former talk-show host, whose Golden Globes speech spurred chatter about a 2020 run, shared a video montage to her Instagram account depicting damage done to her 65-acre Santa Barbara County property, People magazine reported.

Mandatory evacuations had been ordered in parts of Santa Barbara County, but it is believed only 10% to 15% of residents actually heeded the warning.

Lowe posted on Twitter that he was "preparing for whatever may come". We had helicopters doing hoisting operations to rescue people that we were aware of as well continue to look for people who we are - were unaware of.

"The number of confirmed deaths is 17, and the number of injured confirmed is 28".

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Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown compared the scene to that of a "World War I battlefield", according to the Times.

At least 13 people were killed amid "waist-deep" mudslides in Southern California, where heavy rains triggered flooding, officials said.

Authorities have said that "dozens" of people are missing following the storm.

Thomas Tighe said he stepped outside his Montecito home in the middle of the night and heard "a deep rumbling, an ominous sound I knew was. boulders moving as the mud was rising".

United States media mogul Oprah Winfrey has returned to scenes of devastation in her home of Montecito after deadly mudslides killed 15 people.

People in Montecito avoided the ravages of the biggest wildfire in California history last month.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption.

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