Five killed as mud sweeps away homes in California burn areas

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She had been trapped in the home for hours before rescuers came to her aid, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said on Twitter.

Homes were swept from their foundations and residents were unaccounted for while others were rescued as mud and debris from wildfire-scarred hillsides flowed through neighborhoods and onto a key Southern California highway during a powerful winter storm that dropped record rain across the state.

Dave Zaniboni says the bodies were found in mud and debris during rescue operations Tuesday in Montecito northwest of Los Angeles.

Heavy rains were triggering risky flooding Tuesday morning in Southern California, with rivers of mud and debris destroying at least three homes and pooling water forcing police to close parts of the coastal US Route 101, officials said.

She added, "I think the county did what it could issuing evacuation orders yesterday".

Flooding near La Conchita has prompted the closure of parts of US Route 101 in Ventura County, the sheriff's office there said Tuesday morning. Helicopters were being used even during the downpours because of blocked roads.

There were reports of injuries, but Anderson didn't immediately know how many or the extent.

He says some of those rescued were buried in mud and debris.

Some 21,000 people have evacuated in large swathes of southern California, according to The Associated Press, including vulnerable areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

In Santa Barbara County, more than 6,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, including residents in parts of Carpinteria, Montecito and Goleta, located below areas scorched by the wildfires over the past year and a half, including the Thomas Fire, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said.

Forecasters issued flash flood warnings and predicted that the cold front with powerful winds could bring higher rain totals to downtown Los Angeles than recorded over the past 10 months.

A winter weather advisory was in place for mountain areas, where officials warned motorists to prepare for hard travel conditions, including gusty winds, low visibility and snow-covered roads.

Heavy rain is drenching fire-ravaged southern California.

At least three homes in Santa Barbara County have been completely destroyed, the county's fire department spokesperson Mike Eliason told HuffPost, and local reporters said at least two people had been killed. The team will respond if needed for any area flooding in the Montecito or Carpinteria areas.

The San Francisco Bay Area, which also witnessed devastating fires nearby in late 2017, issued a flood warning Sunday, but rainwater there did not cause significant damage.

Bill Susel, 77, removes debris from a gully in back of his home on Spring Trail in Kagel Canyon, in preparation for expected heavy rains later tonight, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.

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