18 dead, 5 missing in Southern California mudslides

"We were ramped up for the weather here and we used those ramped up resources down there", Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell said of sending Santa Maria resources. Residents were still in shock over the loss of life.

All 17 deaths were reported in Santa Barbara County, in addition to 28 people being injured.

John "Jack" Keating - 53 year old transient who often frequents the Montecito riverbed area. The most powerful storm in almost a year created hazardous conditions in areas left scorched by recent wildfires prompting several rescues. They were supported by K-9 units, 10 helicopters and six bulldozers.

Santa Barbara Fire Chief Pat McElroy on Tuesday gave a heartfelt presentation about the deadly and devastating impact of the Montecito mudslides and flooding. "It's just hard with getting some clear information". Neighborhoods were wiped out and roads strewn with massive boulders and trees. But fewer than a fifth of those who were ordered to evacuate did so, authorities said.

Until it was washed away this week by raging floods, leaving only a moonscape of mud and rocks, the three-bedroom Spanish-style house at 319 Hot Springs Road had been a sunny place filled with the artworks collected by Alice Mitchell, who studied art in college, Mitchell told NBC News. Prior to the storm, the county sent out several warnings about the possibility of mudslides through social media, news outlets and community email blasts.


Another emergency management official told the Los Angeles Times that county officials decided not to use the its push alert system to cellphones earlier for concern it might not be taken seriously. The first slides ripped through Montecito about 3:30 a.m. and continued after the county cellphone alerts went out.

The Sheriff's office has released an official list naming the victims, and said their official causes of death will be listed as "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides due to recent wildfire".

"There is still a large area to be searched", he said. "They weren't concerned", Weimer said.

"We have a lot of friends of ours, and they are in the other part of Montecito, and they don't have electricity, they don't have gas, water and they don't have internet".

Rescue workers in helicopters and high-wheeled military vehicles, some with search dogs, were deployed in the hunt for the missing in a disaster zone littered with the remnants of hundreds of damaged or destroyed homes. I think all the smoke and the ash.

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