Southern California Mudslides Leave At Least Two People Dead And Several Missing

At least two people were killed by mudslides triggered by heavy storms in California that have sent muck and debris barreling into several neighborhoods in Santa Barbara County.

A Santa Barbara County fire official said that two bodies were found during a rescue mission in the Montecito area.

The Santa Barbara News-Press and ABC News both reported that at least five people have died, citing the local sheriff, but BuzzFeed News wasn't immediately able to confirm that number.

Several homes have been swept from their foundations, and several people are unaccounted for in neighborhoods near foothills that were recently scarred by wildfires, according to the Associated Press.

“Heavy rains have triggered massive runoff in the Montecito area,” Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Mike Eliason posted on Twitter. “Access is difficult/delayed due to – at some locations – waist deep mudflow, trees, and wires down. Avoid the area.”

Eliason confirmed to BuzzFeed News that at least three homes had been destroyed and that multiple rescues had been conducted throughout the day with more underway in the area.

In one rescue, firefighters saved a 14-year-old girl who was trapped for hours inside a home:

The California Department of Transportation announced the closure of multiple highways in Ventura and Los Angeles counties due to flooding and mudslides.

Authorities say that crews are currently working to clear a 30-mile stretch of US Highway 101 being blocked by mud and debris.

The Coast Guard is supplying air ships to assist in rescue operations — but the Santa Barbara County says that the Coast Guard will stop conducting rescues if drones are sighted in the area.

The National Weather Service said that steady rain has ended, but there is still a chance of thunderstorms and showers in the area. The flooding threat remains in the region impacted by the Thomas fire.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for Thomas, Sherpa, and Whittier. Fire evacuation areas and voluntary evacuation warnings are in effect for Tepusquet Canyon and the Alamo fire area.


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