Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Rescue Operation Continues After Deadly California Mudslides

Rescue Operation Continues After Deadly California Mudslides

On Wednesday, dogs helped crews rescue 10 stranded residents, Anderson said.

The one-two punch of fire and downpour-fueled debris flows have debilitated the affluent, picturesque community of about 10,000 people.

Rescuers picking through waist-deep mud on Thursday, two days after a massive mudslide killed at least 17 people along Southern California's coast, said they feared more bodies may be found but still held out hope for "miracle" survivors.

The first slides tore through Montecito about 3:30 a.m. and continued after the county cellphone alerts went out, destroying or damaging 400 homes and killing at least 17 people. "Obviously a lot depends on Mother Nature, on the magnitude of the rainfall, the magnitude of the mudslides and so forth, and I think what was put together by a team of people, meteorologists, Cal Fire, our Forest Service people, our firefighters and personnel from the flood district and so forth, made a best-guess estimate as to where this was going to occur, and as it turns out they were exactly right that this was going to hit".

Terrifying wildfires forced people to evacuate in December - with the mudslides striking just two weeks after they returned. Fire spokesman MIke Eliason said the girl had been trapped for hours.

Winfrey posted videos on Instagram showing her wading through almost knee-deep mud on her Montecito property and later inspecting the damage.

Resident Berkley Johnson told how he and wife Karen rescued a baby from under four feet of debris after fleeing their home in Montecito.

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Numerous celebrities have homes in the area.

"Mourning the dead in our little town tonight".

NeoTract's GoFundMe post says her father and brother are still missing.

Brown also said responders' efforts are focused on actively rescuing as many as they can and determining whether anyone is still alive in structures that have been damaged. Eight people remain unaccounted for, authorities said.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres shared a photo on Twitter of the devastation in Montecito. Law enforcement officials said the area "looked like a World War I battlefield". "I am praying and thinking so much for our friends in the hospital and their families that are still missing". "Please send love to Montecito".

WATCH BELOW: Firefighters rescue a girl who was trapped in Montecito following heavy rain and mudflow in the 300 block of Hot Springs Road.

The storms come after a 10-month dry spell in Southern California following torrential rains in January and February of a year ago.

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Then, this week, it started to rain. Evacuations have been ordered for communities below hillsides charred by the Thomas fire due to the increased risk of mudslides and flooding. In the clip, Oprah could be seen donning a raincoat and standing in muddy water, which was filled with tree branches.

"It happened that quickly".

"We're seeing those pre-frontal showers", said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola. So he got up on a roof, but said he thought he could die.

Throughout Wednesday, residents who ventured outside witnessed the grim chore of search and rescue.

The sound of working construction equipment could be heard nearby as backhoes dug up the debris.

"Apparently, one of their cars ended (up) in their backyard". Burned-over zones are especially susceptible to destructive mudslides because scorched earth doesn't absorb water well and the land is easily eroded when there are no shrubs.

One such resident, Marco Farrell, 45, called the slide more frightening than the "biggest, scariest, horrifying monster you've ever dreamed of". About 30 minutes later, he was watching 2 to 3 feet of water streaming down the street when he looked over to the sight of the neighbor's auto blasting through a stone wall that surrounded the property.

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"All hell broke loose", said Peter Hartmann, a dentist who moonlights as a news photographer for the local website Noozhawk. "Power lines were down, high-voltage power lines. Water was flowing out of water mains and sheared-off fire hydrants".

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