Mudslide-stricken California town is all but emptied out

"We are saddened to report that the death toll has now risen to 17", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters, saying it had been "another extremely challenging day".

The mudslide areas are under mandatory evacuation orders for at least a week, but the sheriff has cautioned residents to plan to be away for a full two weeks.

"So we made a decision to hoist them from the roof, but we did have to pull them from the roof in order to hoist them up to the helicopter".

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

Singer Katy Perry, who grew up in the area and still has a home there, posted this message of support on her Instagram story on Thursday.

"Authorities had been bracing for the possibility of catastrophic flooding because of heavy rain in the forecast for the first time in 10 months".

And because of the fire, communities below the scarred terrain could remain at risk of mudslides for years, said Randall Jibson, a research geologist with the US Geological Survey.


"Part of the problem with this is the fire created a situation where the dirt was able to wash down", said Richard Targonia, a resident of nearby Carpinteria.

In a statement to KSBY-6 News, Cottage Health said, "We're very saddened by the death of Dr. Mark Montgomery, who was a member of the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Medical Staff. Dr. Montgomery was a respected orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hand surgery".

But in the beginning, in cold rain and hours of cold, slimy mud, dead animals, traumatized residents, stood those young women reporters telling us what we didn't want to see or hear. "We're going to do what we do", she told DeGeneres. "I don't know anything about our house yet". I'm heartbroken for our community of Montecito. "It's as devastating as can be", she added.

"It's total. There's mud inside all the way in".

"Although we knew this was coming, you couldn't help but be amazed at the intensity of the storm and the result of the mudslide and the water that cascaded down the hills". He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice. Active searches are underway as rain continues to fall from a huge winter storm that has soaked much of the state.

"It's devastating. We've lost so many lives and it's a tiny little community and nobody would've expected, certainly, I did not, that after we survived the fires and the rain came, who would've expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon?" she asked. She has been informed that she wouldn't have water or gas, but she still feels grateful.

The mudslides were caused when heavy rain dumped half an inch of water on Montecito in five minutes, while nearby Carpinteria received almost an inch in 15 minutes.

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