17 dead and 300 homes damaged in California mudslides

Image A member of the National Guard puts back up a

Image A member of the National Guard puts back up a"road closed sign after it was blown down by the wind while manning a roadblock to evacuated homes in Santa Barbara California on Dec. 20 2017

Heavy rains set off a series of massive mudslides in Montecito, California, killing at least 15 people, trapping hundreds more in their homes, and destroying approximately 100 homes, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Homes were swept from their foundations as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by a very big wildfire that raged in Southern California last month.

"We don't know how many additional people are still trapped", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said on the "CBS This Morning" programme.

Officials did not provide any further information on the girl's condition or if any of her family members had been trapped.

The death toll from southern California's catastrophic mudslides has risen to 17, with USA authorities warning the number is expected to increase.

The Los Angeles Times noted that rescue teams have been forced to use helicopters because many roads in the area are impassable. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere, with huge boulders, rocks, down trees, power lines, wrecked cars - lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes", he said.

The wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

"We realise that this is going to be a long and hard journey for all of us and our community", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Reuters) The Montecito Inn sits in flooded waters and debris after a mudslide in Montecito.

She posted another video to Instagram on Wednesday showing damage to her home's back yard.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption and leads to an increased risk of mudslides and floods.

"We started looking around and that is when we saw parts of roofs, and there was a body against our next door neighbour's auto", Mr Funk, a financial adviser, said by phone.

The death toll from Tuesday's mudslides stands at 17.

Thousands of Californians who were already forced to flee their homes due to last month's horrific wildfires were also ordered to evacuate over threat of mudslides.

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