Death Toll Climbs to 17 in California Mudslides

Devastation caused by mudslides in California. (Miami Pioneer / Facebook)

Update: On Wednesday evening, The Associated Press was reporting that the death count in the Southern California mudslides, debris slides and flooding had risen to 17.

After wildfires destroyed several areas in Southern California in December, rainstorms caused flooding and mudslides Tuesday that swept through the scorched Santa Ynez Mountains into the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. The mud reached about 5 feet high in some places, destroying several homes and sweeping through roads.

As of Wednesday morning, the death toll had reached 15, with a majority of casualties in Montecito, the wealthiest community in Santa Barbara County. Authorities said they were still performing rescues after saving a 14-year-old girl in her home in Montecito. Footage of her rescue can be seen below:

Another victim whose car was caught in a mudslide was rescued by an air squad.

While thousands have evacuated across the area, about 300 people are reportedly trapped.

Debris from the mudslides has led the California Highway Patrol to close roughly 30 miles of U.S. Highway 101, a swath that is expected to stay closed for up to two days.

The interactive map below shows which areas are affected by the mudslides; it will be updated throughout the day.

USA Today provided a useful graphic on Twitter explaining how mudslides form:

California Sen. Kamala Harris took to social media to express her sympathy Tuesday night.

Below are some of the photos of the devastation and rescue efforts posted on Facebook:

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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