California mudslides death toll rises, eight missing

Oprah Winfrey's home damaged by deadly California mudslides

California mudslides: At least 13 killed, thousands evacuated

Have you been following the news out of California?

Seventeen people were confirmed dead after a wall of mud roared down hillsides two days earlier in the scenic area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest, according to Santa Barbara County authorities.

Roads were clogged throughout the region with mudflows shutting down more than 30 miles (50 kilometers) of the 101 Freeway on Tuesday and knocking a number of homes from their foundations.

Mud swamped a hotel on Coast Village Road.

Hundreds of rescuers are combing wreckage in Southern California for those missing after mudslides that have killed 17.

The heavy rains have been risky because vegetation is missing - burned away by the Thomas Fire - that would normally help channel the water and mud flow.

When heavy rain falls in a short period and a fast-flowing mudslide forms, it often moves quicker than people can run.

"Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where unsafe mud and debris flows are possible", said the National Weather Service in a statement.

The 11-second video shows the TV star standing knee-deep in mud, surrounded by debris.

"Some rescues have been gut-wrenching: firefighters pushed through wait-high mud to reach a 14-year-old girl caked in mud from head to toe", Karson reports. Areas affected by fires of less able to absorb water, which makes flooding worse. Brown apologized for the inconvenience, but he called the area "a very active rescue and recovery and fix zone right now".

The fires burned most vegetation, leaving flawless conditions for the latest tragedy to unfold.

The girl's house was just one of several destroyed in the coastal community of Montecito, home to many of Santa Barbara County's most affluent residents.

U.S. Highway 101, a crucial link between Ventura and Santa Barbara, was so overwhelmed by mud and debris that authorities announced it will remain closed until at least Monday.

A total of 0.54 inches of rain was reported at Montecito in just five minutes.

It has been reported that at least 13 people have died due to heavy rains last night in Southern California.

These before and after images show the extent of the damage in Montecito.

After boulders and a rush of mud barreled through their home about 3 a.m., Johnson and his wife crawled out of a window on their roof, he told KSBY News.

This mudslide originated from the Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara, which have been scorched by recent fires in the area.

"It looked like a World War I battlefield", said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

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