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Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

California mudslides leave 13 dead, hundreds trapped in Montecito

Incredible mudslides in Southern California slammed everything in sight, leaving a death toll of 13 as of Wednesday morning with over 160 listed as injured.

Hundreds of first responders in Santa Barbara County waded through waist-high mud while others flew over the devastation searching for survivors.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Yaneris Muniz said Wednesday morning that 300 people were trapped in the Romero Canyon area of Montecito because debris was blocking their way out of the neighborhood. “We can’t get to them, and they can’t get to us. … Once we have daybreak, you will see helicopters start rescuing people there,” Muniz said.

The rain fell at more than 1.5 inches per hour at one point early Tuesday in parts of Southern California. About a half inch per hour is enough to start mudslides, said Robbie Monroe of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

TIME published a video on the scene, watch it below.

photo/ Twitter

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said that as the storm hit hard between 3 and 6 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s office dispatchers handled more than 600 phone calls for assistance, adding that US 101 in parts of Montecito and Santa Barbara will remain closed for at least 48 hours.
Before the storm hit, Santa Barbara issued mandatory evacuations for 7,000 people, including in parts of Carpinteria, Montecito and Goleta, which are below areas scorched by wildfires, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said.

“While some residents cooperated with the evacuations, many did not. Many chose to stay in place,” said Brown.

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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