Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Southern California's Deadly Mud Flows Seen from Space by NASA

Southern California's Deadly Mud Flows Seen from Space by NASA

"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, powerlines, wrecked cars, lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes let alone to get people out of them", he said.

Evacuations were ordered beneath recently burned areas of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties Monday, but only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of people in the mandatory evacuation area heeded the warning, authorities said.

While most homeowners have fire insurance, very few typically have flood insurance, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams said.

"So again, we evacuated because they feared mudslides". Others who were found, or identified among the dead, were crossed off. Sheriff Bill Brown had given the larger number Thursday but cautioned that many or most of those people may simply have been unreachable to the family and friends who reported they couldn't find them.

Richard Taylor, a retired English professor, and his 6-year-old stepgrandson, Peerawat Sutthithepa, were also among the dead in Montecito, according to his brother Marshall Taylor.

According to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office, these are the names of those killed this week when heavy rain unleashed flash floods, mudslides and debris flow in the southern part of the state. People who are in their homes waiting to be rescued, they don't know what's happening because there's no power, there's no water.

Instead, emergency crews spent the first hours of light making rescues in voluntary evacuation zones near Montecito Creek north of US 101. Rescue workers in helicopters and high-wheeled military vehicles, some with search dogs, were deployed in the hunt for the missing. "This is a constantly changing list", he said.The sheriff told reporters all of the victims were from Montecito.

"They were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK", said Weimer, who has been frantically searching for her parents for more than a day. Secondary searches also were to be be conducted in areas that emergency crews accessed earlier in the week.

The "Finding Dory" actress went on to add that she considers the area her "home", and become emotional as she spoke about the devastation.

In some cases, the deluge seemed to split families as well as homes.

Winfrey said that because her house is located on top of a knoll, she feels safe.

The flow was so powerful it swept several homes off their foundations, crushed others and wrapped cars around trees. Rohter's wife was rescued, but he did not survive, Van Hecke told ABC News. This is the 101 Freeway in my neighbourhood right now. "I'm told there was about 5 feet (1.5 m) of mud". "Some of the locals think there's probably bodies in there".

One of the region's most famous resorts, the San Ysidro Ranch, sustained extensive damage in the mudslides, McElroy said Saturday.

The 101, a key north-south route in California, was tentatively scheduled to reopen on Monday, but cleanup efforts have proved more hard than expected, Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Pat McElroy said on Saturday.

Laura Camp, a spokesperson for the Montecito water district, said the boiled water notice is still in effect for the entire district. The walls at one end of a home had completely disappeared, leaving its roof hanging precariously.

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