As California mudslide death toll hits 18, crews keep up the search

14 January, 2018, 20:19 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Cars are seen stranded on the 101 Freeway near Summerland on Jan. 9 2018

Tanker trucks sucked muddy water from flooded sections of USA 101, the only direct major artery between Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara region and an important route for many people who work in the Santa Barbara region but live down the coast in Ventura County.

Until the highways are clear, commuters looking to travel from the Central Coast must take either I-5, via Highways 46 or 166, a ferry service like Island Packers or Condor Express or an AmTrak train.

That alert went to the area affected by last month's Thomas Fire at 2:46 a.m. Tuesday, but Santa Barbara officials were concerned it didn't reach certain Verizon customers. There are still four people reported missing.

The 101, a key north-south route in California, was tentatively scheduled to reopen on Monday, but cleanup efforts have proved more hard than expected, Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Pat McElroy said on Saturday.

The Santa Barbara News-Press noted that five people are still listed as missing.

"We were able to find people", Anderson said, but added that the number could continue to fluctuate greatly.

David Cantin, 49. The father of Lauren Cantin, the 14-year-old girl whose rescue was one of Tuesday's most dramatic stories.

The damage above Montecito isn't absolute.

Jim and Alice Mitchell, whose house was swept away when the flash floods cascaded through their neighborhood, had not left their home because their house was under a voluntary evacuation order and not a mandatory order, their daughter, Kelly Weimer said Wednesday.

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The Bay Area firefighters are among hundreds of rescue workers from around the state searching through mud for victims and survivors.

Finally, county officials warned that the ocean from Gaviota to Carpinteria is off-limits "due to bacterial levels that continue to exceed standards".

A few streets away, Abbe and Gary Shaw counted their blessings. Family friends told the station that the pair had been asleep in their home early in the morning when water rushed inside. Like many, the couple described hearing explosions during the slide as gas lines ruptured and exploded. Members used an arsenal of tools, technology and specially trained dogs to probe piles of debris more than 15 feet deep at the southern end of Romero Creek.

But even the area's celeb residents were hit badly: Ellen and wife Portia de Rossi were forced to evacuate from their home while Oprah's property was flooded with mud.

"If I'd have known how bad it was, we might have been scared", Abbe Shaw said.

Orcutt said he's been a trucker since 2000 and has encountered many different road closures.

Like several other area residents, Gary Shaw said he was frustrated government officials failed to quickly stabilize the hillside following the Thomas Fire. Then the mudslide hit. "It's crusty on top but soft underneath, so we're having to be very careful".

Mr Johnson told the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper that the pair joined a fireman to dig the toddler out, before scooping mud out of her mouth.

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