Death toll from California mudslides climbs to 18

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The Santa Barbara County coroner's office says the victims range in age from 3 to 89 and all are residents of Montecito.

Pitney said many rescues were still happening Wednesday and Thursday, but most if not all were of people who were safe but just wanted to get out of the area. "There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after", Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Josephine Gower, 69, died when she opened the door to her home, her son, Hayden Gower, told NBC station KSBY. "We hope there's not going to be any more".

But there was some good news Saturday. For example, powerful mudslides wash away entire mountainsides, tragically taking with them homes, other structures and human lives. Hundreds of homes were either damaged or destroyed and several people remain missing. "It's filled with a lot of different types of people form all backgrounds and there are families missing". One such rescue was a boy who was found under an overpass Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. Authorities say they need to limit people in the area so the backhoes and front-end loaders can continue digging out streets.

The search for victims of the disaster has carried on in Montecito, where crews are labouring to fix power, water and gas lines as well as clean up massive debris. "You never really know".

Peter Hartmann said power lines were down and aluminum poles were snapped in half.

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Many Californians in the area hit hardest by this week's deadly mudslides did not heed warnings for hours and days by emergency officials encouraging them to evacuate their homes - and then received cellphone alerts of imminent slides when the massive streams of debris were already heading toward them or had already hit their neighborhoods.

This photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 shows Morgan Corey. Ground usually held together by tree roots and smaller plants was suddenly just a mass of mud and boulders which residents describe as sounding like a freight train. "(It) surrounded the house, 2 to 3 feet".

"By the time I got to my house 30 seconds later there was a river of mud all over everything". But what they saw, what they experienced, as they stood there, in the most terrible of environments, was heroic to me. "I feel like I escaped". Authorities said that number was likely to change.

"Right now, of the entire debris flow area, we have covered 75 percent with the primary search and 25 percent have had a secondary search", Amber Anderson, public information officer with Santa Barbara Fire, told HuffPost.

Between Ventura and Carpinteria, a 30-mile stretch of USA 101 remained closed in both directions Thursday because of flooding and mud on the roadway. It erupted December 4 in Ventura County and destroyed more than 1,000 structures as it swept through the city of Ventura and then threatened Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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