Deadly California mudslides swallow lives, homes, cars

EMBED </>More Videos

The death toll has risen to thirteen Tuesday night as dozens of homes and roads were washed away from devastating mudslides in Southern California. (KFSN)

The death toll has risen to thirteen Tuesday night as dozens of homes and roads were washed away by devastating mudslides in Southern California.

The most powerful storm in nearly a year created hazardous conditions in areas left scorched by recent wildfires prompting several rescues.

Officials say the focus there now is search and rescue. Mud and debris cover roads, homes and everything in its path with one official saying it looks like a battlefield.

They are plowing through the walls of mud, standing on top of homes and using search dogs -- hoping to find those who are reported missing.

Captian Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said, "It's our worst fear coming to life for us right now. Our people are out there trying to do the best work they can and perform as many rescues as they possibly can."

The rain fell hard, officials say two to four inches fell in less than 30 minutes in some areas. Bearing down on the same parts of Southern California blackened by those devastating wildfires.

And with nothing to hold the soil in place debris and mudflows wreaked havoc -- coming quickly in the middle of the night.

Montecito Oaks resident, Ben Hyatt said, "I woke up my wife and we just did not know what to do, we were just surrounded by mud."

"So then I ran and jumped on the bed and basically in seconds it was as high as the countertops inside the house," Geoff Gray said.

The mud sweeping homes off their foundations, prompting rescues from the air and on the ground rescuers pull a 14-year old girl from the mud after she was trapped inside a home for hours.

Cars are stuck in the mud, intersections inundated with flood water and in Burbank, a debris basin is partially collapsing.

Officials fear the number of dead could rise. They say about two dozen people are still unaccounted for and at least 25 were injured.
Related Topics:
severe weatherCalifornia
(Copyright ©2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)