First Responders Search For Survivors After Deadly California Mudslides

This came just weeks after several fires scorched the area.

Last month's wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, which became the largest in California history, not only burned away grass and shrubs that held soil in place, but also baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground. The dead ranged in age from 3 to 89. And there are families missing, there are people who are missing family members.

Rescue crews with dogs and scanners dug through waist-deep mud in an affluent stretch of Southern California's coast on Wednesday, hunting for some two dozen people missing after mudslides swept through, killing at least 15.

The disaster was already unfolding when Santa Barbara County officials sent out their first cellphone alert at 3:50 a.m. County emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to send one sooner out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

Officials said secondary searches of damaged structures were under way. ROY ROHTER, 84:Rohter founded St. Augustine Academy in Ventura in 1994 and was described as a man dedicated to his Catholic faith and to helping others. His wife and son survived, the report states. "She really listened and appreciated friendships and was a very good, doting mother to her children". "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity". "Why didn't she stay upstairs?"

Josie Gower's daughter Hayden, is among the missing. "Why did she go downstairs?"

Rebecca Riskin, a real estate agent and founder of Riskin Partners, was also killed in the mudslides in Montecito, the company confirmed in a post on its Facebook page Wednesday.

Fabiola Benitez, 28, was swept away along with her husband and two children when her house was leveled during Tuesday's deluge, according to Lori Lieberman, a family friend. Their home was destroyed Tuesday in a mudslide. A third sister and the girls' mother are now being treated in the ICU, the family said. The power of the debris flow destroyed everything in its path and there was no time to flee. Because hundreds of thousands of acres were charred in the fires, the influx of water has nowhere to go.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson released the latest number early Friday.

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The damage above Montecito isn't absolute.

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs.

"He is in an out-of-area hospital being treated", Brown told reporters. Authorities said on Thursday night that 43 people were unaccounted for.

The record rains started coming down Monday, soaking northern cities like San Francisco and Sacramento.

A 14-year-old girl was trapped for hours in mud-soaked rubble on Hot Springs Road and then pulled to safety in a triumphant moment.

The huge wildfire that led to this week's devastating debris flows in Montecito, California, is finally 100 per cent contained.

The only way into some of the washed-out homes is by air.

The storm is now over, and weather is no longer interfering with rescue efforts, authorities say. "They weren't concerned. It's not like anybody came around and told them to leave". Excessive flooding and debris made some parts of Santa Barbara impassable.

Evacuee Hannah Troy has spent three days at the Red Cross shelter in nearby Santa Barbara. Debris and mudflow blocked the railway for the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad through Montecito.

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