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17 people killed in Santa Barbara County mudslides

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A month after California’s largest wildfire scorched northwest LA county, a vicious mudslide has engulfed the Montecito area in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

At least 43 people are missing and 17 people have been pronounced dead as a result of the Tuesday morning flash flood. Among the list of the 17 deceased, the youngest was only 3 years old. (http://nixle.us/9T88H) The cause of the massive mudslide is found to be in the uprooting of vegetation along the southern California mesa, allowing for minimal protection against large amounts of soil sliding down mountainsides. Montecito cliffsides can have an incline up to 3,000 feet and drastically drop off to sea level in less than 5 miles, Santa Barbara’s deputy director of public works Tom Fayram states.

Robbie Monroe of the National Weather Service in Oxnard states that only a half an inch [of rain] per hour can initiate a mudslide [CNN]. Parts of Santa Barbara received more than 3 inches at 4 a.m. that Tuesday morning.

Los Angeles Times – “Orange County search-and-rescue crews look for missing people along Olive Mill Road and Hot Springs Road in Montecito.”

Large amounts of soil, trees, vegetation, trash, and rocks have drenched the Santa Barbara County roadsides and residency areas. As of Thursday, more than 65 homes were destroyed and 400 others were damaged, NBC News reports. Among the homeowners were actors Jeff Bridges and Oprah Winfrey herself, in which she took to Instagram to document the damage done to her backyard and her neighbor’s house. (https://www.instagram.com/p/BdxqgGxgO7m/?taken-by=oprah)

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the California National Guard, and the United States Air Force Pararescue have cooperated together in a joint effort to clear mud and debris from roads and surrounding houses in the Montecito area. Due to the thickness of the mud, helicopter searches have been ideal for locating missing people.

The 101 Freeway between Santa Barbara and Ventura has been closed since the mudslide immersed onto the road and will remain closed presumably until Thursday night.

The state of California has received no rest when it comes to natural disasters.

Text “REDCROSS” to 90999, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or access the Red Cross website to donate to the Santa Barbara and Ventura County mudslide relief. Central California’s local Red Cross can be reached at (805) 987-1514 as well.

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1 Comment

One Response to “17 people killed in Santa Barbara County mudslides”

  1. Pamela Perez on January 11th, 2018 8:24 PM

    Well written article. My heart goes out to all of the families who have lost loved ones and homes. Peace be to all.

    [Reply]

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