At least 13 people killed in California mudslides


"While we hope it will not, we expect that this number will increase as we continue to look for people who are still missing and unaccounted for", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Officials plan to conduct search and rescue missions throughout the night into Wednesday morning.

The muddy deluge caused by heavy rain has destroyed more than 100 homes, damaging hundreds of other buildings and injuring a further 28 people.

Emergency workers using search dogs and helicopters rescued dozens of people stranded in mud-coated rubble in the area about 110 miles north of Los Angeles. They are now refocusing their efforts to raise money for victims of both disasters.

He said it's likely they'll find more people amid that destruction.

Heavy downpours struck before dawn on Tuesday after 7,000 residents in Santa Barbara County were ordered to evacuate and another 23,000 were urged to do so voluntarily, some of them for a second time since last month.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles, as homes were wiped away by mudflows after devastating wildfires left charred hillsides without vegetation cover to hold the deluge.

Winfrey's home survived the mudslides.

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"What a day!" Winfrey said.

She appeared alert and was communicating with firefighters as she was transported to a hospital.

The dead were identified - all from Montecito, ranging in age from 3 to 89 years old.

"This is how deep the mud is", she said as she turned the camera on the backyard debris as rotor blades of helicopters can be heard in the background. With the wildfires leaving behind a waxy layer of debris that made it hard for water to infiltrate the ground, the downpour caused flash floods in the fire-scarred Santa Ynez Mountains.

Sarah Ettman's home was undamaged, and her section of town still had gas and electricity, even though nearby Romero Creek was choked with cars, trees and rocks.

"Coming back, it's nearly surreal to see the devastation, the mud flow, the debris", McTigue said in a phone interview hours after he arrived.

In daylight, Tighe was shocked to see a body pinned by muck against his neighbor's home.