Oprah's home damaged by California mudslides

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

The 87-year-old man was "located by a search and rescue team in his residence", said Bill Brown, the sheriff of Santa Barbara county.

The highest rainfall total was recorded at five inches (13 centimetres) in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rain and a "deep rumbling" sound preceded the massive amounts of mud that blanketed miles and killed at least 17 people.

After a better look at the damage, officials lowered the number of destroyed homes from 100 to 59 and raised the number of damaged ones from 300 to 446.

Even those who didn't lose their homes in the disaster that left at least 18 people dead were told to leave for up to two weeks so they wouldn't interfere with the rescue and recovery operation.

Curious and concerned citizens who had trudged through the mud Thursday to view the devastation were nowhere to be seen as more firefighters in bright yellow rain gear searched methodically and utility crews in orange safety vests worked with chain saws and jackhammers.

Authorities announced Thursday that 73-year-old Peter Fleurat was among those who died in Montecito.

A friend of the Cantin's family explained that Lauren's father Dave and her 16-year-old brother Jack were still missing.

"Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", Bridges wrote on Twitter.

Destructive flooding and mudslides struck Southern California on Tuesday.

Routes in and out of Santa Barbara have been shut down from the south, and various roadways have been swallowed by the floods. Fourteen helicopters and four water rescue teams were aiding the effort.

People in Montecito had counted themselves lucky last month after the biggest wildfire in California history spared the town.

"Normally water's kept in the channels, but with debris flows with the water, it dams up the area and forces debris to back flush", he said.

Among the dead were an elderly woman whose house was washed away by mud, the founder of a Roman Catholic school and a real estate executive, according to friends, family and local news media.

"We've gotten multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud", said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. Its residents include celebrities such as TV presenters Oprah Winfrey, whose home has suffered some damage, and Ellen DeGeneres. The home's garage ws destroyed and the cars were swept away.

Gater tells the Times more than 200,000 emails and other warnings were issued, but the county decided not to use the push alert system to cellphones out of concern that it might not be taken seriously. Her body was found Wednesday near a highway.

He said the zone, which includes areas formerly under voluntary evacuation advisories, would be in effect for one week but that residents should plan for two.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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