The Latest: Death toll from California mudslide rises to 17
MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on deadly debris flows that hit the California community of Montecito (all times local):
Authorities now say 17 people have died in Southern California mudslides and another 17 are missing.
The death toll rose Wednesday as searchers pulled two more bodies from the inundated area in the Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito.
Flash floods there on Tuesday swept immense amounts of mud, water and debris down from foothills that were stripped of brush by the recent Thomas wildfire.
Authorities say at least 100 homes have been destroyed.
Hundreds of firefighters and others are hunting through the mud and wreckage. Three people were rescued Wednesday and authorities say about 75 percent of the devastated area has been searched.
California’s main north-south coastal highway will remain closed until at least Monday after a storm caused deadly mudslides in fire-scarred areas of Montecito and adjacent Santa Barbara County.
The California Department of Transportation says some 30 miles of southbound Interstate 101 will remain shut while crews clear mud, water and debris that swamped entire sections of the road on Tuesday.
The road is closed from Milpas Street in Santa Barbara at the north end to the junction with State Route 126 in Ventura.
About 12 miles of northbound lanes between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara also remain closed.
The road is in an area where rescuers are searching for people who may have been trapped. At least 100 homes were destroyed and 15 people killed.
California authorities say 100 single-family homes were destroyed in the flash-floods that struck the coastal enclave of Montecito and adjacent areas of Santa Barbara County.
A county statement Wednesday says an additional 300 homes were damaged.
Eight commercial properties were also destroyed and 20 were damaged.
The death toll remains at 15, with 24 people missing. Twenty-eight injuries have been reported.
The flash-floods struck in the early morning hours Tuesday when a huge amount of rain fell in a few minutes on hills and mountain slopes stripped bare last month by the largest wildfire in recorded California history. The fire destroyed more than 1,000 structures.
Southern California authorities say two dozen people are still missing in the aftermath of debris-laden flash floods that smashed through homes in the coastal enclave of Montecito, where the death toll has reached 15.
Santa Barbara County spokesman Amber Anderson says Wednesday that officials have no idea where the missing people may be but believe they are within the debris field.
Debris flows hit early Tuesday morning when a tremendous amount of rain fell quickly on hills and mountains scarred last month by the largest wildfire on record in California history.
Search teams have worked around the clock, locating the dead, rescuing others and evacuating those who were simply stuck in homes but otherwise unharmed.
Authorities in Northern California say a man died after his car was apparently struck by falling rocks in a landslide Tuesday evening in Napa County.
The California Highway Patrol reports Wednesday that the vehicle went 100 feet (30 meters) down an embankment and crashed off Highway 121.
The man, who has not been identified, was found dead inside the car.
Officials say Highway 121 between Wild Horse Valley Road and Wooden Valley Road remains closed.
The death toll from the powerful debris flows that hit the Southern California community of Montecito has risen to 15.
Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Yaneris Muniz (MYOO’-nihz) confirms two more deaths, in addition to those reported in the hours after a storm dumped a huge amount of rain on the community in a brief period of time early Tuesday.
Muniz says a search of the stricken area is continuing.
A storm that slammed a California coastal community is over. The search for victims is not.
Authorities in Santa Barbara County are still trying to reach new areas and dig into the destruction to find dead, injured or trapped people who might be there after a powerful mud flow swept away dozens of homes.
By Tuesday night at least 13 people were confirmed dead, at least 25 were injured and at least 50 had to be rescued by helicopter.
Those numbers could increase when the search is expanded Wednesday and search-and-rescue teams reach new areas.
In Montecito, Oprah Winfrey shared Instagram photos of the deep mud in her backyard and rescue helicopters flying overhead.
She’s one of several celebrities who live in the wealthy enclave that was hit the hardest by the storm.