The water and powerful debris flows destroyed about 100 homes and damaged 300 others in the Montecito community, known for its multimillion-dollar properties.
Southern California can not catch a break, as fallout from half a dozen historically destructive wildfires continues with this week's widespread flash flooding occurring in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Mudslides and flows of debris brought by the region's first winter storm have stranded hundreds of people in Santa Barbara County.
"We can't get to them, and they can't get to us", Yaneris Muniz, spokesperson for Santa Barbara County, said in a statement.
Most deaths were believed to have occurred in Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.
Flash floods there on Tuesday swept vast amounts of mud, water and debris down from foothills that were stripped of brush by the recent Thomas wildfire. (Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via Reuters) Emergency personnel evacuate local residents and their dogs through flooded waters after a mudslide in Montecito.
Navy serviceman Tyler McManigal was informed by authorities that his father and brother had been swept away by flash flooding. The video below shows rescuers helping a driver whose vehicle was swept away by the mud.
Over 1,600 people in Santa Barbara County lost power due to the natural disaster, KSBY reported.
Among them was a mud-caked 14-year-old girl who was pulled after hours trapped under the rubble of a collapsed home in Montecito.
Just weeks ago, the rain was desperately needed as wildfires ravaged millions of acres across California. Burn area are more susceptible to flooding because rain bounces off the barren surface instead of being absorbed into the soil.
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