California Mudslide Death Toll at 18 as Search for Missing Continues

Santa Barbara County Fire Search Dog Reilly looks for victims in damaged and destroyed homes in Montecito

Search Efforts Continue After California Mudslides Killed At Least 15

Many Californians in the area hit hardest by this week's deadly mudslides did not heed warnings for hours and days by emergency officials encouraging them to evacuate their homes - and then received cellphone alerts of imminent slides when the massive streams of debris were already heading toward them or had already hit their neighborhoods. "So many times over the past 15 years people have come up to me and say to me that when they're going through a tough time this show helps them through it". The number of missing now stands at seven.

Authorities are hoped to find them alive. Others who were found, or identified among the dead, were crossed off. The death toll went up to 18 Friday afternoon, and the number of missing people in Santa Barbara County was lowered to five.

"Water is very powerful", said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County.

The cause of Mr Bleckel's death wasn't announced, but all other victims died from multiple traumatic injuries due to a flash flood and mudslides.

"There are mothers, fathers, grandfathers, siblings, and the list goes on and on", Brown said.

First responders have searched about 75 percent of the debris field left by a torrent of boulders, detritus and muck, according to Brown.

O'Dea said his house was turned into a staging ground for the Ventura County Search and Rescue.

Emergency crews rescued three people Wednesday, using helicopters to reach residents trapped in canyon areas that were rendered inaccessible by mud, downed power lines and fallen trees.

The grim discovery came around noon on a day in which searchers were going through damaged and destroyed homes, sometimes for a second time.

The couple, their daughter said, had fallen in love with their Montecito home.

In many cases, the mud burst through homes, sweeping victims away.

He was still shaken by his harrowing experience Tuesday with his pregnant wife and two young children as the violent gusher arrived with a deafening rumble. Theresa was rescued and hospitalized in stable condition.

More than 100 homes have been destroyed by the fast-moving floods of mud and debris, and in the affected area coastal Highway 101 looks like a river of mud. On the stretch of the freeway by the Montecito Inn, several feet of mud and rubble collected in the road.

Santa Barbara fire Captain Gary Pitney said the likelihood is increasing that rescue crews will be finding bodies instead of survivors at this point.

In addition, eight commercial buildings were destroyed and 20 were damaged.

Most of the 9,000 residents of Montecito, located north of Los Angeles, remain under orders to stay out of town as gas and electricity were expected to be shut off Saturday for repairs.

Laura Camp, a spokesperson for the Montecito water district, said the boiled water notice is still in effect for the entire district.

"Coming back, it's nearly surreal to see the devastation, the mud flow, the debris", McTigue said in a phone interview hours after he arrived.

At the beginning of the clip, the 45-year-old is seen yelling at the driver of a auto going up the street to turn around because a flash flood was coming down the hill.

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