04:21 (GMT+4) At least 13 people were killed and Tuesday when a rainstorm sent mud and debris coursing through Montecito neighborhoods and left rescue crews to scramble through clogged roadways and downed trees to search for victims, Los Angeles Times reports.
The deluge that washed over Santa Barbara County early Tuesday was the worst-case scenario for a community that was ravaged by the Thomas fire only a few weeks earlier. In just a matter of minutes, pounding rain overwhelmed the south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek that leads to the ocean, sending mud and massive boulders rolling into residential neighborhoods, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason
At least 25 other people were injured, authorities said at an afternoon press conference. Crews rescued 50 people by air and dozens more from the ground.
“It’s going to be worse than anyone imagined for our area,” Eliason said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Following our fire, this is the worst-case scenario.”
21:53 (GMT+4) Heavy rains triggered freeway closures throughout the region Tuesday and unleashed mudflows in areas ravaged by wildfires last month, shutting down more than 30 miles of the 101 Freeway and leaving at least three people dead as rescue personnel scrambled through clogged roadways and downed trees, officials said, Los Angeles Times reports.
At least three people had died in the area of Montecito after a heavy band of rain struck around 2:30 a.m. causing “waist-high” mudflows, according to Mike Eliason, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The mudflows knocked three homes from their foundations and left fire personnel rushing to free people trapped in vehicles and homes, according to Eliason, who said a child was among those injured.
Additional details about the deaths were not immediately available.
Emergency crews in the area have also received numerous unconfirmed missing-person reports, Eliason said.
“We’re still hoping that’s not the case,” he said.