California storm, mudslides death toll increases to 15

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The death toll from the powerful debris flows that hit the Southern California community of Montecito has risen to 15.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Yaneris Muniz confirms two more deaths, in addition to those reported in the hours after a storm dumped a huge amount of rain on the community in a brief period of time early Tuesday.

Muniz says a search of the stricken area is continuing.

Authorities in Santa Barbara County are still trying to reach new areas and dig into the destruction to find dead, injured or trapped people who might be there after a powerful mud flow swept away dozens of homes.

By early Wednesday morning at least 15 people were confirmed dead, at least 25 were injured and at least 50 had to be rescued by helicopter.

Those numbers could increase when the search is expanded Wednesday and search-and-rescue teams reach new areas.

In Montecito, Oprah Winfrey shared Instagram photos of the deep mud in her backyard and rescue helicopters flying overhead.

She's one of several celebrities who live in the wealthy enclave that was hit the hardest by the storm.

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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