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13 Enero 2018, 10:32 | Benedicto Grullon
A Huge Mudslide Just Tore Through California. This Is The Aftermath
Sheriff's deputies also knocked on doors in the mandatory evacuation area to warn residents to leave.
While the focus Thursday will remain on search and rescue efforts, the effects of this mudslide will last long beyond this week.
Southern California authorities say the number of people missing since debris-laden flash floods smashed through the community of Montecito is now five, down from as many as 43 a day earlier.
The debris field also cut off gas, electricity and water to much of the area.
U.S. Highway 101 at the Olive Mill Road overpass is flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek in Montecito. Authorities estimated that 65 homes were destroyed and another 446 were badly damaged. She and her newborn were hoisted to safety, followed by the rest of the family.
"We've gotten multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud", said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. By the time the rains moved on, dozens of boulders sat atop muddied tree branches on Olive Mill Road, where at least three homes were blasted to their foundations when the debris suddenly roared in. Law enforcement officials said the area "looked like a World War I battlefield". Then she added, with a laugh, "that's very unlike me".
Residents lucky enough to be spared reported hearing rumblings just before the onslaught that sounded like an quake but were actually the sound of a deadly, roaring curtain of mud and debris descending upon them powerful enough to propel massive boulders the size of trucks along with it. "We are heartbroken over the loss of lives in our community". But, he said, "The likelihood is increasing that we'll be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that". They ranged in age from 3 to 89 years old.
The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.
Santa Barbara County officials chose not to send an emergency alert to cellphones warning of mudslides until destructive flooding had already begun in Montecito, officials said Wednesday.
Triggered by heavy rains, the massive slide struck before dawn on Tuesday, when a wall of mud and debris cascaded down hillsides that were denuded last month by wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, the largest blaze in the state's history.
Aerial footage over Montecito showed a contrast of widespread damage next to homes completely untouched by the disaster. Some streets suffered no damage.
Neighborhoods were littered with uprooted trees and downed power lines, and front yards in homes filled with mud were strewn with boulders.
"It's just waiting and not knowing, and the more I haven't heard from them - we have to find them", Kelly Weimer, whose elderly parents remain missing, told the Associated Press. Their home of more than 30 years was untouched by the torrents of mud and water.
Now, three days in to a mandatory evacuation order they made a decision to ignore, the Shaws said they're determined to ride out what could be a multi-week closure. And I'm trying to weave the vehicle in, you know, two feet of mud to get back in the driveway and down the street. "People who didn't lose their house in the fire - they just lost huge things in the mud". The couple had to previously evacuate during the California wildfires.
Between Ventura and Carpinteria, a 30-mile stretch of US 101 remained closed in both directions Thursday because of flooding and mud on the roadway.
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