Wild swings occur in numbers of California mudslide missing


Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up massive debris and fix power, water and gas lines.

As rescue crews continued to trudge through the wreckage left by devastating mudslides in Southern California Thursday, some of the 17 dead were identified - including loving grandparents, a retired nurse and the founder of a Catholic school.

Authorities imposed a "mandatory evacuation zone" around large portions of Montecito Thursday night, warning residents that they should prepare to be away from their homes for as long as two weeks.

Karson, reporting for NPR from Pasadena, Calif., said the mudflows above Montecito were so powerful they ripped some homes off their foundations. "You just don't even think that this is possible". Also, residents left homeless will require shelter. "Financially that's a burden".

Much of the focus of Thursday's search was on areas where rescue crews had yet to reach, said Amber Anderson, a public information officer for the multiagency response team handling the disaster.

Firefighters and other emergency officials have been walking the affected neighborhoods, searching for survivors who may be trapped in mud-filled homes.

Anne Marie Cullen was one of the rescue workers combing through homes with a cadaver-sniffing dog, looking for people vanished in the mudslides. Flooding and debris flow prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut down the northbound 101 Freeway at Route 126 in Ventura and at Seacliff, and the southbound 101 Freeway just south of Santa Barbara at Milpas.

He said: "There were some people who did refuse to evacuate and chose to stay in their homes, but there were many that did evacuate and they were safe because of that". "It's martial law here, basically". By the time it was fully contained earlier this week, it had destroyed more than 440 square miles of land and was responsible for the deaths of two people. Some rescuers used poles to probe the muck for bodies, while others waded chest-deep in the mire.

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But during a later news conference, Brown also announced the recovery of resident John Keating, 53, who only moments before was still categorized as missing. A 14-year-old girl was rescued on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people who were trapped but not injured in the slides, such as those stranded in Romero Canyon, were taken to safety on Wednesday, she said.

Luckily for Ellen, her home managed to escape unscathed by the destruction, which was caused when heavy rain battered the ground which had been stripped of all vegetation after the Thomas wildfire.

"We'll definitely have more", Eliason said, referring to deaths.

With most utilities out of commission or about to be cut off, staying behind was not an option for many. Colleagues at Riskin Partners credited the former ballerina with having closed more than $2 billion in high-end real estate sales since founding the company that bears her name in the early 1990s.

Some remained in hotels and family guest rooms or on friends' sofas for more than a week, feeling like holiday burdens or worrying about unexpected housing bills.

"I basically ran for my life, I ran as fast as I could, made it back to my house in about 30 seconds of the front of the flash flood hitting", Ferrell to CBS News.