18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

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A auto sits in mud and debris after a mudslide on in Montecito, California. On Thursday they believed dozens were unaccounted for, but the number was revised down. "There are mothers, fathers, grandfathers, siblings and the list goes on and on."The devastation affected an area estimated at 30 square miles, according to Cal Fire". 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.

And rescue teams were still slogging through the mud, hunting for the missing and assessing the damage.

The authorities on Tuesday ordered evacuation and recommended that the residents move to high areas.

For a time during the deadly storm, 81-year-old Paula McDonald was one of the missing, without electricity or cellphone service and unable to reach her children to say she was all right as chaos erupted all around her.

Authorities had warned that destructive floods were likely because areas scorched by California's wildfires past year stripped the region of much of its water-absorbing soil and foliage.

The tale that led to these tears is nothing new in Southern California.

The last embers were barely extinguished when the rains came.

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After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption.

Before dawn Tuesday, the worst fears were realized. Her body was discovered east of Olive Mill Road. "Literally. Ran for my life". About a block up from Farrell's home, firefighters were helping Devon Crail and his wife, Tiare, retrieve items from his parents' house. "Mud came in an instant, like a dam breaking".

Major roads were swamped, trapping many in their homes.

"My dad [the Mitchells' son] texted to say he'd been trying to contact them", Megan Mitchell said.

The opening date is "truly unknown", she said, especially with more rain expected at the end of next week.

"The mud just." she said, her voice trailing off. It took out hedges and trees.

The death toll from mudslides in southern Santa Barbara County rose yet again as Sheriff Bill Brown on Saturday said the body of 25-year-old Morgan Christine Corey - previously missing - was found, bringing the total number to 19.

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A fleet of large trucks and heavy equipment rolled into town Thursday, and the forces on the ground swelled to more than 1,200 workers.

"It's just incredible. Seeing pictures doesn't do it justice", she said of the downed trees, flattened houses and muddy streets.

"I work in LA, but I consider Montecito my home". The challenges are mounting for first responders. "This is an enormous loss for our community". "Your prayers and best wishes are most appreciated".

Ellen Degeneres was forced to flee her home in the wake of the Californian mudslides.

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

"We have got to get those basins cleaned as fast as we can", Lewin said.

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