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As California mudslide death toll hits 18, crews keep up the search

13 January 2018

The National Weather Service sent out four wireless emergency alerts in various areas of Santa Barbara County between 2:30 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, spokeswoman Susan Buchanan said.

Sawyer's sister Morgan, 25, is still missing, according to the report. He brings the total of missing to seven.

Morgan Corey, 25, is still missing after the mudslides in Montecito, Calif., destroyed their family home on Tuesday.

Elms said crews are still trying to fight their way through roadways made inaccessible by mudflow in the hopes of locating more people.

Brown said the recovery effort has been hindered by residents who had stayed behind or tried to check on damage in neighborhoods where homes were leveled and car-size boulders blocked roads and littered properties.

"I think that there are probably people that we have in our coroner's office that haven't been necessarily reported missing yet", Brown told Noozhawk. "So our missing list is down to five", Brown said. The eighteenth victim, an 87-year-old man, was found dead in his home on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Oprah Winfrey, speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, said while walking around she saw some of her neighbors homes were "gutted", while others are "gone, just gone". It was the first death discovered since Wednesday. The John Keating listed above is a different person.

"I am blessed and I am going to do whatever I can for the rest of the community", Winfrey said, "and we all just love the firefighters".

The Benitez brothers survived. The reason: Amy is pregnant with the couple's second child, and her due date is less than a week away.

"The devastation and number of families lost", she said, crying. The courtyard of the 90-year-old Montecito Inn, built by silent movie actor Charlie Chaplin, was filled with a thick crust of debris driven by the slides.

Barajas, owner of a Santa Barbara restaurant, survived with cuts and bruises and a sprained neck.

In addition, the current drought in Southern California only makes the potential for more mudslides worse, Luke Whelan wrote in Mother Jones magazine.

Numerous same rescuers who fought the Thomas fire in Santa Barbara County are now frantically combing the area for survivors of the mudslide.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Thursday that officials were expanding mandatory evacuation zones in the area because pedestrians and traffic are hindering rescue and fix operations.

"But realistically we suspect that we are going to continue to have discovery of people who were killed in this incident".

Flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are punishing the communities hit hard by the Thomas and La Tuna fires, prompting "dozens and dozens" of rescues on the ground, a spokesperson from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told ABC News.

The freeway "will remain closed until we can deal with water flowing from sheared fire hydrants and until we can ascertain the integrity of that roadway", McElroy said.

Remarkable footage shows Marco Farrell standing outside his Montecito home on Tuesday as a combination of mud, water and debris cascades down the road. The number of people killed remains at 17. Approximately 1,250 firefighters, Coast Guardsmen, utility workers, Red Cross volunteers and other personnel are assisting with the search and cleanup.

The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

The mudslides were caused when heavy rain dumped half an inch of water on Montecito in five minutes, while nearby Carpinteria received almost an inch in 15 minutes.

As California mudslide death toll hits 18, crews keep up the search