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California Mudslides Death Toll Rises To 19, Residents Told To Evacuate

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19 Confirmed Dead in Montecito Mudslide Disaster

Southern California authorities say the number of people missing since debris-laden flash floods smashed through the community of Montecito is now five, down from as many as 43 a day earlier. I'm standing right now still in a lot of mud but not as much as yesterday. It was so incredibly harrowing", said Brian O'Dea, author of "High: "Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler".

Hundreds are still trapped without water or electricity after massive mudslides caused by heavy rains and flash floods devastated an area near Santa Barbara, California.

But in the second image, captured Wednesday after the mudslides swept homes off their foundations and killed more than a dozen people, the impacts of both the wildfire and the flooding can clearly be seen.

O'Dea, originally from St. John's, was jailed as a young man for drug smuggling, but is now an author, film and television producer.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

'There was evacuation fatigue from the fire, ' Farrell said. For example, powerful mudslides wash away entire mountainsides, tragically taking with them homes, other structures and human lives.

"I said, 'We gotta get out of here.' As I turned the auto around and I looked in my rear-view mirror, I saw huge boulders the size of my vehicle rolling on the street behind me, and I went, 'Mother of God, this is like Independence Day, ' so I took off back down to the house", he said. Montecito and neighbouring Carpinteria were hardest hit by the mudslides. I mean, it was apocalyptic.

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The two must now decide what their next move will be and how to keep up with their daily lives. "Just gone. So it is as devastating as it can be".

"In disaster circumstances, there have been many miraculous stories of people lasting many days". People who are in their homes waiting to be rescued, they don't know what's happening because there's no power, there's no water.

Terrifying video shows the moment a river of mud started coursing down a southern California street - as the death toll in the mudslides has been raised to 17. With no vegetation left to absorb the rain, the slides came quickly amid a torrential downpour.

The Santa Barbara County coroner's office says the victims range in age from 3 to 89 and all are residents of Montecito. He said close to 40 or 50 rescue crew members stayed for the better part of the day as "they were out looking for bodies".

The number of dead could climb as crews continue to search through about 30 square miles of mud and debris in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Authorities also added one more name to the missing list, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin.

"We're really joined together", she said.

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