Mudslide-stricken California town is all but emptied out

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It comes just weeks after Ellen and Portia were also forced to flee their $18.6 million beachfront Santa Barbara house because of the threat caused by the Thomas wildfire.

Her friend Doug Scott told ABC News that Gower and another friend were on the second floor of her home but ventured downstairs when they heard rumbling.

Those killed were as young as 3 and as old as 84.

Jim and Alice Mitchell moved into their dream retirement home in the ritzy Montecito area of Santa Barbara County in 1999.

The SDFD California Task Force 8 canine search and rescue mission ready package team was scheduled to depart Wednesday at 3 p.m.

It is believed that seven people aged between two and 30 are still missing and more than 1,200 rescuers have been drafted in to search the mud in Montecito, which is up to 15ft deep in some areas.

Residents had been under mandatory evacuation for so long during the Thomas fire that they began to question whether the orders were necessary, Haigh said. Just a piece of a wall remained, said Clay Weimer, their son-in-law. The floodwaters and mudslides have also destroyed an estimated 100 homes. Theresa was rescued and said to be in stable condition, but Roy did not survive. "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity". "Why didn't she stay upstairs?" "Why did she go downstairs?"

The mudslides also injured almost 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest. A third sister and the girls' mother are now being treated in the ICU, the family said.

Montecito alone saw heavy rainfall in a short amount of time.

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The Montecito community will need months, if not years, to completely recover.

Thankfully there weren't any deaths or major damage, but it drove home another fact of life for Californians: The threat of the "next big one" may be right around the corner.

In addition, eight commercial buildings were destroyed and 20 were damaged.

Ellen herself reflects on the show regarding what's going on in her life and with her home.

In many cases, the mud burst through homes, sweeping victims away. But Tom Fayram, the deputy director of the county's flood control district, said the crews were making great progress and he was confident that at least a base level of water would be able to pass through the creek channels. Seventeen people were reported missing. It swelled to 43 missing people a day earlier, but many of those people were found, having been cut off from communication without power or cellphone signal, Brown said.

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

After the dogs are trained, they are partnered with firefighters and first responders.

The seven missing people included Fabiola Benitez, the mother of Jonathan Benitez, a 10-year-old killed in the flooding. Routes in and out of Santa Barbara have been shut down from the south, and various roadways have been swallowed by the floods. Fourteen helicopters and four water rescue teams were aiding the effort. To make matters worse, biologists have found that when rain hits the charred landscape, it can become even more dense and more water repellent.

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