The water, mud, and rocks followed the path of a creek bed that normally flows to the ocean. The slopes outside of Montecito, California, which had been burned, offered no ability to keep the rocks and mud in place, causing it to flow into the residential area.
In addition to those who died in the mudslide, another 25 people have been reported wounded. People in the community were warned in advance, and thousands fled the area before the rain started.
The rain started falling around 2:30 a.m., causing mudflows that were waist high. Some damage from the mudslides took place in a part of the city that was not directed to evacuate.
Emergency rescue crews are working to get people out of their cars, and from under debris. Helicopters are also being used to get to areas not yet accessible by vehicles. There is no power in some areas.
The mud, and some rocks as large as cars, has blocked some roads into the area, including Highway 101 – a major highway. It was closed for a distance of more than 30 miles in both directions. There have not yet been any estimates of when the highway may be reopened. Because of the blocked roads, some parts of the city had not yet been reached by rescue teams as of this afternoon.
A five-car crash on Highway 126 has resulted in the death of one woman, and two others were injured. It is believed that the mudslides contributed to the accident. Another death occurred when an 18-wheeler overturned.
Some homes had been knocked off of their foundations by the mudslide and rocks. A number of homes had collapsed, and at least two girls in different houses, were rescued from the debris. Dogs are being used to search for people still trapped in their homes or in the mud and other debris.
One boy had been swept from his home, and was found alive a half mile away. The house was ripped from its foundation.
As much as five inches of rain are expected in the area, and there has been mudslides and flooding in other areas, too. Part of the customs area of the Los Angeles International Airport has been flooded.
There were a couple of areas in which more than 50 people in each area had called to be rescued. Some people who had ignored the warnings decided to stay, and are now saying that it was much worse than they thought it might be.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent out a statement notifying homeowners in the area that an area that has not had floods previously, may have them now due to the burn areas. Unfortunately, people within these areas have not needed flood insurance before, and their current homeowners insurance will not cover these floods.
Comments: These people certainly need our prayers.
Keywords: Montecito, California, floods, flooding, dead, death, mudslide, rescue, Highway 101