(Ventura County Sheriff's Office via AP) In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad through Montecito, Calif.is blocked with mudflow and debris. More than 1,560 personnel were assigned to the search-and-rescue and cleanup efforts in an incident area that spanned 30 square miles.
Jim and Alice Mitchell moved into their dream retirement home in the ritzy Montecito area of Santa Barbara County in 1999.
Montecito got more than a half-inch in five minutes, while nearby Carpinteria received almost an inch in 15 minutes, the AP news agency reported.
"If they had", said Blum when referring to county officials, "they would've known where the water was going to go". About 7,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders. Pounding rain weakened south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek, sending mud and huge rocks rolling into housing areas.
The "waist-high" mud destroyed homes, uprooted trees and washed away dozens of cars in Santa Barbara County, CNN reported.
Resident Berkeley Johnson said he fled to his roof as the slides destroyed his home before finding a baby on a neighbouring property.
"There are four juveniles on the list", Brown said. Dozens more people were rescued on the ground, including a mud-caked 14-year-old girl who was pulled from a collapsed home in Montecito where she had been trapped for hours. "Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara". "Although we knew that this was coming you couldn't help but be amazed at the intensity of the storm". Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe also have residences in the area.
Winfrey captured footage of nearby flames that were burning due to a gas leak in the midst of a downpour while in another clip, the star showed part of her mud-covered backyard and indicated the depth of the mud by walking through it with rain boots on.
The U.S. Geological Survey, in a study of wildfires and debris flows in Southern California, notes that post-fire debris flows are most common within two years of a fire and are usually triggered by heavy rainfall.
Boulders the size of small cars were rolling down hillsides and blocking roads, reports BBC News Los Angeles correspondent James Cook.