5 dead after flooding and mudslides force thousands to flee in California

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At least five people are dead in California from weather-related incidents, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said today. The southern part of the state has been drenched with severe rain just weeks after several fires tore through the area.

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Flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are punishing the communities hit hard by the Thomas and La Tuna fires. Because hundreds of thousands of acres were charred in the fires, the influx of water has nowhere to go.

In the affluent community of Montecito, some homes have been ripped from their foundations as a result of the torrential conditions.

Local fire officials reported rescuing several people in the area including a mother and her daughter who were caked in mud.

The Claffey family in Carpinteria was forced to evacuate its home last month. After moving back in, family members were told to evacuate again because of the rain.

“If our house was flooded it would be devastating. Absolutely devastating,” Maureen Claffey told ABC News.

The record rains started coming down on Monday, soaking northern cities like San Francisco and Sacramento.

PHOTO: A car is stuck in the mud in La Tuna Canyon after heavy rain caused mudslides in California, Jan. 9, 2018. Los Angeles Police Department
A car is stuck in the mud in La Tuna Canyon after heavy rain caused mudslides in California, Jan. 9, 2018.

A 14-year-old girl was “trapped for hours” in mud-soaked rubble on Hot Springs Road and then pulled to safety in a triumphant moment.

Power in the area also been cut, according to ABC News affiliate KEYT.

More rescues were expected and evacuations are rising, officials said.

The worst of the storm will move inland, with the heavy rain letting up sometime around dinner time or even before, according to the National Weather Service.

PHOTO: Mud fills the living room of Mary Longs home in Santo Tomas Lane in Montecito, Calif., Jan. 9, 2018. Mary Long via KEYT
Mud fills the living room of Mary Long’s home in Santo Tomas Lane in Montecito, Calif., Jan. 9, 2018. more +

So far, rainfall totals Tuesday morning and early afternoon range from 2 to 4 inches in Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

The weather has snarled drivers and first responders attempting to aid storm victims.

Routes in and out of Santa Barbara have been shut down from the south, and various roadways have been swallowed by the floods.

The only way into some of the washed out homes is by air. Officials told ABC News they’ve been called to locations but they’re also stuck like thousands of motorists.

ABC

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