At least eight people are dead and 25 injured in Southern California after pouring rain triggered mudslides that swept homes from their foundations and blocked roads, forcing helicopter evacuations, officials said.
Multiple bodies were found in mud and debris during rescue operations Tuesday in Montecito, 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Captain Dave Zaniboni said.
All eight deaths were in Montecito, but additional details were not immediately available, officials said.
The devastating debris flows came months after a massive wildfire ravaged the area, stripping vegetation and making mudslides practically inevitable in heavy rains.
But just 10 to 15 per cent of residents ordered to evacuate heeded the warning ahead of a dangerous storm Monday night, officials estimate.
Mudflows swept three homes from their foundations and left at least eight injured in Montecito, officials said.
The wealthy enclave of roughly 9,000 residents is home to numerous celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.
On Tuesday morning, firefighters helped multiple residents escape the area, including a 14-year-old girl who was trapped for hours inside of a destroyed home but walked away mostly unscathed.
The teen was discovered when firefighters using dogs in the search heard a scream. Rescue crews worked for six hours using the jaws of life and other tools to free her from the mangled wreckage.
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Firefighters rescue a 14-year-old girl who was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito on Tuesday. Rescue crews worked for six hours using the jaws of life and other tools to free her from the mangled wreckage, but she walked away
An aerial view of the devastation show the wealthy enclave’s roads, driveways and homes buried in rivers of mud
Mudflows swept three homes from their foundations and left at least eight injured in Montecito, officials said. A home in the wealthy enclave is seen damaged amid the destruction on Tuesday morning
Santa Barbara County Fire Search Dog Reilly looks for victims in damaged and destroyed homes in Montecito on Tuesday
US 101 was completely impassable at the Olive Mill Road overpass after it flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek. The critical coastal highway has been completely shut down for 30 miles between Ventura and Santa Barbara
Debris and mud cover the entrance of the Montecito Inn after heavy rain brought flash flooding and mudslides to the area
Damaged vehicles carried by mud flow and debris at the exit of the parking garage to The Montecito Inn
Debris and mud cover the street in front of local area shops after heavy rain brought flash flooding on Tuesday in Montecito
Rescue crews are seen in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. Heavy debris flows and mudslides blocked roads, forcing helicopter evacuations of residents trapped in their homes
Heavy mudslides have closed US 101 from Santa Barbara to Ventura. Of the areas under threat, Montecito appears hardest hit, with multiple deaths reported. Summerland and Carpinteria were also hit by mudslides
Officials estimate that only 10 to 15 percent of the 21,000 people who were under mandatory evacuation orders actually left. The map above shows the mandatory (red) and voluntary (yellow) evacuation zones issued before Monday’s storm