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Death toll in California mudslides expected to rise, at least 13 dead

Death toll in California mudslides expected to rise, at least 13 dead
From CBC - January 10, 2018

The number of people killed by mudslides in California is expected to rise from 13, but rescue efforts should become easier Wednesdayafter a powerful rainstorm heads west and skies clear, authorities said.

Rescue personnel in Santa Barbara County early in themorning continued searching for victims where mudslides slammedinto homes, covered highways and swept away vehicles early onTuesday when more than 15 millimetresof rain fell in fiveminutes, a rate that far exceeds the normal flash floodthreshold.

"While we hope it will not, we expect this number toincrease as we continue to look for people who are missing and unaccounted for," Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown of the deathtoll during a news conference on Tuesday.

The upscale communities of Montecito and Carpenteria, justoutside the city of Santa Barbara, were hardest hit. Over thepast month California's scenic coastline was ravaged by a seriesof intense wildfires that burned off vegetation.

On Tuesday, emergency workers using search dogs andhelicopters to rescue dozens of people stranded in mud-coatedrubble in the normally pristine area, sandwiched between theocean and the sprawling Los Padres National Forest, about 180 kilometresnorth of Los Angeles.

A 14-year-old girl was found alive after firefighters usingrescue dogs heard cries for help from what was left of her Montecito home, the Los Angeles Times reported.

About 300 people were stranded in a canyon. Local rescuecrews, using borrowed helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard,worked to airlift them out, officials said.

Evacuationordered

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