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Thirteen Dead amid Heavy Rains and Mudslides in California

Updated On 09 Jan, 2018 Published On

Mudslides in Southern California have killed at least 13 people with more than 160 people admitted to the hospital, according to various sources.

"Waist-deep" mudslides in the region, triggered by heavy rains and flooding have led to nearly 300 people being trapped in Romero Canyon, east of Santa Barbara.

A powerful winter storm resulted in heavy rains, floods and mudslides in southern California

A powerful winter storm resulted in heavy rains, floods and landslides in southern California

Source: Dailymail

According to police officials involved in rescue operations, the scene resembled "a World War One battlefield".

Thirteen dead, scores missing and more than 160 people hospitalized in southern California floods and mudslides

Thirteen dead, scores missing and more than 160 people hospitalized in southern California floods and mudslides

Source: Getty

The flooding and mudslides have led to the closure of more than 30 miles (48km) of the main coastal highway. According to rescue workers and emergency services, the death toll could rise as many have not been accounted for.

One of the hardest-hit areas was the upmarket neighborhood of Montecito. The whole area resembled a post-apocalyptic world in Hollywood staples with some homes knocked out of their foundations and boulders the size of cars rolling down the hills and landing in the middle of the roads.

Among those rescued was a 14-year-old girl who was led to safety by the fire department after she had spent hours trapped in the ruins of her home caked in mud.

Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and actor Rob Lowe own properties in Montecito.

According to the US Coast Guard, multiple airships have been dispatched to support rescue operations.

The current disaster in the region follows the wildfires that engulfed the area in December, burning vegetation that would have stopped floods and landslides. A wildfire not only burns and destroys vegetation but chars soil, leading to the creation of a water-repellent layer that increases the risk of mudslides and floods.

About 30,000 residents had received evacuation orders by Monday.