At least eight dead amid ‘waist-deep’ mudslides in California

At least eight people were killed Tuesday after intense overnight rainfall triggered dangerous flooding and mudslides in the Southern California area.

Officials said the bodies were found among debris during rescue efforts, and the victims have not been identified. At least 25 injuries have also been reported.

The deaths were believed to have occurred inMontecito,Santa Barbara County spokesman David Villalobos said.

Santa Barbara fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said some of those rescued were buried in mud in debris. Authorities have successfully completed 50 rescues since the storm broke out, among them a 14-year-old girl trapped inside her home after it was swept from its foundation.

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First responders on Tuesday were plucking people from vehicles trapped in dangerous flooding and debris triggered by heavy overnight rainfall in California.

Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliasonsaid “multiple rescues from vehicles and structures are underway,” adding they’ve already received a number of missing persons reports.

He also warned of “waist-deep mud flow” as well as downed trees and power lines across the area, which have left responders’ access severely limited. Officials have already closed portions of the coastal US Route 101 and several other roads in light of the treacherous conditions.

Storms brought rain to California on Monday and increased the risk of mudslides in fire-ravaged communities.

Storms brought rain to California on Monday and increased the risk of mudslides in fire-ravaged communities.

(Eric Risberg/AP)

Eliason told CNN at least three homes have been “wiped away by mudflow and debris” in the Montecito neighborhood.

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Floating debris also left a gas line broken, which resulted in a series of structure fires. Crews have struggled to figure out the source because of the blocked roadways.

Record-breaking rains began drenching northern cities like San Francisco and Sacramento on Monday, just after families in the area were given the go ahead to return home after the state’s largest wildfire in history, ABC News reported.

The blaze left 44 people dead and nearly 9,000 homes and other buildings destroyed.

Because the grounds remain charred from the sweeping fires, they’re unable to absorb water — creating conditions ideal for flash flooding and mud slides.

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Thousands of people across Southern California on Tuesday were under evacuation orders, with rainfall so far totaling between 2 and 4 inches across Ventura Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, according to National Weather Services.

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The storm is slated to move inland throughout the day Tuesday, with rain expected to end in Los Angeles around dinner time.

The weather service also issued a winter weather advisory for places in Sierra Nevada above 7,000 feet of elevation. The area is slated to get between 4 to 7 inches of snow and up to 1 to 2 feet of snow on higher peaks on Tuesday.


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