'Window closing' for California mudslide searchers as death toll rises to 18

Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek on Sheffield Drive in Montecito Calif

Search Efforts Continue After California Mudslides Killed At Least 15

Some of the damaged homes had "boulders or cars or other debris punch through them", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said in an interview Friday.

It was another frustrating turn for those living in the town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.

Marin County fire Battalion Chief and team member Graham Groneman said they are glad to use their skills to aid the community.

Torrential rain triggered a series of catastrophic mudslides in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara on Tuesday morning, reducing buildings to rubble and killing at least 18 people.

Authorities in California say a man they thought they had found after this week's mudslide is actually still missing. "That is why we have the canines to help us assist in those efforts to either sniff out or guide us to areas potentially that could have other people that need assistance and rescue". Heavy rains caused rivers of mud and debris to run down from hillsides, creating the mudslides in Santa Barbara County.

The death toll in the Montecito, California, mudslides has risen by one to 19 and the number of remaining missing has decreased to five.

The mudslides also injured almost 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest.

"We're hoping against hope that we can find somebody that might be alive", Brown said.

Speaking on Thursday, he said: "Realistically we suspect we are going to have the discovery of more people killed in this incident".

The Thomas fire was the largest wildfire in recorded California history. An active search and rescue operation is ongoing, officials said.

The television host and comedian said she evacuated from her home during both disasters.

Olive Mill Road and the Montecito Inn are just up the street from the Coral Casino, and it, too, was transformed by the mudslides.

"Where do you go when you're a family of four and you don't have a second house?" Sleeping nearby was Jonathan Benitez, Kaelly's cousin and Ramos' nephew.

Dr. Montgomery and his wife, daughter and son were caught in the mudslide.

"He is in an out-of-area hospital being treated".

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images A bulldozer clears mud off the road near a flooded section of USA 101 near the San Ysidro exit in Montecito, California, on Tuesday.

Camp said water service throughout the district continues to be limited.

"Billy and I went down to the house and the whole time we were talking about let's just keep the parents calm to make sure they're aware that we're going to keep them safe", said Coast Guard Petty Officer Aaron Custer. Still, surrounded by her dogs and donated clothing and food, Troy said she's in no hurry to get back. In addition to Montecito, they've helped locate survivors in countries like Japan, Haiti and Nepal after devastating earthquakes.

"We just got our electricity so now we're listening to NPR", she said.

Josephine Gower, 69, died when she was swept away in the mudslides, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday. McTigue said the scene looked very different this time around.

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