California Mudslides Death Toll Rises To 18, Residents Told To Evacuate

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Those killed ranged in age from 3 to 89, and all lived in Montecito in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles, authorities said. Their dog, Gigi, is still missing.

Peerawat Sutthithepn, 6, came to America from Thailand just two years ago.

More than two dozen people were injured in the mudslides, member station KCLU reports.

At a news conference Thursday where he said 43 were missing, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the updated figure was an "inclusive" number that encompassed several definitions of "missing".

"We do understand that the closure of Highway 101 is causing great hardships for many, many people", Pontes said. Riskin was swept away after a mudslide tore through her living room, Conte said, adding that her husband survived because he was in bed in a part of the house that stayed intact.

The immediate areas where people were killed are under mandatory evacuation, and officials increased the size of the evacuation zone Thursday. "I'm standing right now still in a lot of mud but not as much as yesterday", she said.

"We were expecting rain this week and usually we're grateful for rain, especially in California, but not after the largest fire in the history of California", she continued. Downed power lines wrapped around trees at one property, while elsewhere the lines dropped nearly to the ground.

Ramos, a stay-at-home mom, was sleeping in her bed along with her daughter Kaelly Benitez when mud crashed through their rental home.

Many Californians in the area hit hardest by this week's deadly mudslides did not heed warnings for hours and days by emergency officials encouraging them to evacuate their homes - and then received cellphone alerts of imminent slides when the massive streams of debris were already heading toward them or had already hit their neighborhoods.

Rescuers said they would search every piece of debris and pile of dirt to look for the missing.

About 100 homes have been destroyed and 300 others damaged in Montecito, a community known for its multimillion-dollar properties.

Asher returned with a pickax and five friends and trudged through the debris to salvage any possession he could find.

She had two adult children and three grandchildren.

"I'm looking out the front window, I think everything's fine, everything's fine - and it wasn't until I put my boots on walking and I realized everything ... wasn't fine at all". Because hundreds of thousands of acres were charred in the fires, the influx of water has nowhere to go. He says they lived in a voluntary evacuation zone, so they chose to ride out Tuesday's storm. 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.

The backbreaking work went on under the sunny skies that have made the stretch of Santa Barbara County coast about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles a haven for the wealthy, celebrities and tourists drawn to its scenery and casual vibe.

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