Up to 43 people still missing after California mudslides; dead identified

A home is surrounded by mud and debris caused by a massive mudslide in Montecito California

A home is surrounded by mud and debris caused by a massive mudslide in Montecito California

More than 50 people have been rescued already but many places are still inaccessible.

At least 13 people have been killed and homes torn from their foundations in flash flooding and mudslides in southern California.

The mudslide areas are under mandatory evacuation orders for at least a week, but the sheriff has cautioned residents to plan to be away for a full two weeks.

The wealthy enclave of Montecito was one of the hardest-hit areas, with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey revealing their homes were among those damaged.

DeGeneres said on her talk show that the town is a "tight-knit" community.

Lowe posted on Twitter that he was "preparing for whatever may come".

He had earlier tweeted that Winfrey's home was a "staging ground for helicopter rescues".

Mud blocked Highway 101 along the Pacific Coast, and search and rescue teams are working their way to about 300 people trapped in their neighborhood in Montecito where the roads are inaccessible, according to Brown.

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The first confirmed death was that of Roy Rohter, the founder of St Augustine Academy in Ventura.

On Tuesday, Brown told reporters that the scenes "looked like a World War I battlefield".

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".

But by then, tons of mud, trees, rocks and other debris were rolling down hills that had been burned in the largest fire on record in the state.

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

But the wooded hillsides that once gave their estates a sense of seclusion were largely denuded by last year's historic wildfires, setting the stage for the massive slides that slammed into homes, turned highways into raging rivers and shredded cars into almost unrecognizable tangles of metal after heavy Tuesday rains.

Tuesday's mudslides in Santa Barbara County were the result of wildfires followed by a heavy storm that sent rivers of debris streaming down steep hillsides.

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