Mudslide Wipe Away Home In Southern California


Mudslides, floods and cascading debris swept away buildings , inundated roads and killed 13 people in Southern California as thousands of residents of an area recently devastated by wildfires were forced to flee their homes from the potent forces unleashed by yet another disaster. Some 25 people were injured , with many more in danger across the region as hills left barren after weeks of fires were transformed by rainstorms early Tuesday morning into fast -moving rivers of mud and debris . “The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [ like ] was it looked like a World War I battlefield,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown at a news conference Tuesday afternoon . “It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere.” All 13 bodies were recovered near Montecito , a coastal community north of Los Angeles , where mudflows carried houses off their foundations and rose to people ’s waists. A storm of mud descended on the town with no warning , officials said , surrounding houses and carrying a washing machine down one block . Brown called Tuesday a somber day , and said he expects the number of deaths to increase as officials continue to look for people who are missing and unaccounted for . “Obviously the focus is to get to people who may be injured . . . to get as many of those people evacuated from their homes as possible ,” he said . Montecito and Carpinteria were the county ’s worst -hit communities as of Tuesday afternoon , said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara ’s incident management team . Evacuations had been ordered in both towns, she said — but only a small fraction of residents actually left. About 8 ,000 people live in Montecito and about 13 ,000 live in Carpinteria . Downtown Montecito was covered in thick mud and debris as officials scrambled to search for stranded survivors . A Santa Barbara County fire official , who declined to provide his name because he did not have authorization to speak with reporters , described a scene out of a disaster movie. “Inside the debris we ’re finding bodies,” he said . For a town already ravaged by wildfires , he offered a grim outlook . “This whole mountain has been burned , and anytime water hits it’s not shedding into any bushes because they ’re all burned . Any water that hits the surface is coming at us and causing debris and mud to flow . It’s probably going to happen again and again ,” he said . “This is just the first storm . It ’s probably going to happen again and again . ”’ View from the air in Montecito. Areas that had been roadways, driveways, and homes, are now unrecognizable due to the large amount of mud and debris flows. Many residents were caught off guard . Shawn Monroe, 58 , woke up about 3 a .m . Tuesday to a neighbor alerting people about the storm . “Thankfully that woke me up because there was water flooding into my apartment ,” he said . Monroe, who works as a caretaker at the Montecito Presbyterian Church , spent the next 10 or so hours trying to drive away from the mudslide but got stuck. Some roads , he said , were blocked by wreckage — a combination of mud , rocks and other debris , which included parts of houses that had been destroyed . “Everywhere I turned there was chaos . I tried to get out every single way and there was no way out . I feel like I escaped ,” Monroe said . His neighbors might not have been so fortunate . “Everyone ’s up there , and no one can get out ,” he said . Elizabeth Terry, who lives in a boardinghouse in Los Angeles , said it was her third evacuation since 2016 , having been forced from her home by wildfires previously . Huddled in an white blanket at a Red Cross evacuation center in the Sun Valley neighborhood , she said she’ s “had more than enough ” of the natural disasters and wants to move, but she can ’t afford to. “I ’ve been trying now for over a year ,” said Terry, 63 . In La Tuna Canyon , the site of one of the many fires that ravaged Southern California in December , small rivers of water coursed through the streets, with several closed off as crews operating bulldozers worked frantically to clear the mud and debris . The coastal 101 freeway that connects Santa Barbara to Ventura , where December fires devastated huge swaths of land , was completely shut down for more than 30 miles . It appeared to be entirely submerged in some areas . Boulders lay in the middle of roadways like street trash in parts of the region. A teenager in Montecito was found , alive , so caked in mud she looked nearly indistinguishable from the ruins she spent hours trapped inside. Nearly 7 ,000 residents were evacuated from foothill communities in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday , according to the Los Angeles Times . Emergency teams have performed 50 hoist rescues and several dozen rescues on the ground , officials said . Crews were working Tuesday afternoon to rescue 300 people trapped in Romero Canyon . Rains are expected to diminish by Tuesday night, and the weather for the rest of the week is forecast to be sunny and clear . In the northern part of the state , Sonoma and Mendocino counties , where separate fires had destroyed entire neighborhoods and killed dozens of people last year , were put on watch for flash floods and slides. But the worst of the weather has so far slammed Southern California , where some residents say natural disasters have become part of life . Barbara Hill , 68 , who said her house is right next to the affected areas , said the region’ s summers have become hotter and the droughts more severe . “You know what they call the four seasons here ?” she said . “Earthquake , drought , fire and flood. We went quickly from fire to flood.”

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1 thought on “Mudslide Wipe Away Home In Southern California

  1. […] Mudslide wipe away homes in Southern California […]

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