Several killed in Southern California mudslide

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A baby girl has been found and rescued from the debris left by the devastating California mudslides.

At least 13 people were killed in southern California on Tuesday as heavy rains triggered floods and dense mudslides that destroyed homes and property.

Teams rescued three people, but they also discovered two more bodies, raising the death count, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Josie Gower, 69, was a Montecito resident who was at home when the mudslide hit the area.

It made for a nightmare morning commute as cars and trucks on several major roads got stuck in the mud.

Search dogs, helicopters and thermal imaging equipment are being used to find victims or survivors, with rescuers battling through waist-deep mud in some areas. About 300 people were stranded in a canyon.

"Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", he said.

The Santa Barbara County sheriff said emergency dispatchers received about 600 calls immediately after the rains began early Tuesday.

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But only 10 to 15 percent complied with mandatory orders, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Rescue crews in U.S. state of California have been combing through tons of debris for survivors after 17 people were confirmed dead and another 17 people missing.

A month ago, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties battled the Thomas Fire, the state's largest wildfire on record, which - fanned by strong winds and dry brush - burned 281,620 acres.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil are especially susceptible to destructive mudslides because scorched earth does not absorb water well and the land is easily eroded when there are no shrubs.

Some local residents had to flee their homes due to the fires last month and again this week because of the rains. "Like, in the dark I could see boulders all the sudden go by at enormous speed", Tebbe said Wednesday.

Jennifer Markham, whose home escaped both disasters, said: "We totally thought we were out of the woods".

"I feel lucky", he added.