Oprah Winfrey Films Herself Wading Through Mudslide at Montecito Mansion

Oprah Winfrey Films Herself Wading Through Mudslide at Montecito Mansion

Southern California's mudslides have killed at least 15 people as of Wednesday morning-up from 13 deaths on Tuesday. Twenty had "storm-related injuries" and four were critically hurt. "Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara".

The heavy rains have been risky because vegetation is missing - burned away by the Thomas Fire - that would normally help channel the water and mud flow.

About 1,250 emergency workers raced against the clock to find survivors with drones, heavy equipment and sniffer dogs in the rescue and clean-up efforts, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services said. Earlier in the day, officials put the number of missing at just eight.

At least 17 people have died as a result of the mudslides, which has destroyed houses and caused substantial damage in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Firefighters struggled through the mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruinds of a home in Montecito, norrthwest of Los Angeles. "Following our fire, this is the worst-case scenario".

It is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres. "It's not like anybody came around and told them to leave".

According to the report in the BBC, "multiple airships to support rescue operations" were sent by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The fires burned most vegetation, leaving flawless conditions for the latest tragedy to unfold.

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs.

Several roads are closed, including the major Highway 101.

"The intensity of the Thomas Fire left our mountains with little or no vegetation to prevent the slopes from sliding", the county declaration read, referring to the record inferno that consumed some 100,000ha.

Heavy downpours hit ground that had been burned by wildfires that took hold in December. Kelly Weimer, whose parents were killed when their Montecito home was swept away by flash floods, said they "were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK".

The Federal Emergency Management Agency shared a warning for California homeowners explaining that homes that had never flooded before were now at risk.

Unfortunately, the natural disasters that plagued the Golden State in 2017 continued on in the new year.

The storm over California is expected to produce 4in to 7in (10 to 18 cm) in the foothills and 9in (23cm) in select areas.

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