Rivers of mud leave at least 13 dead in California

Last month's wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, which became the largest in California history, left the area vulnerable to mudslides.

Hundreds of homes in Montecito's affluent community were either damaged or destroyed as a result of the torrential conditions.

By the afternoon Sheriff Bill Brown said the death toll was 13 and likely to rise as they searched for people still missing.

Winfrey, who lives in the affluent Santa Barbara enclave of Montecito, looked sullen as she carefully trod through her yard, cluttered with fallen tree branches and other debris.

But when a relative went to the sheriff's office for information, she said, "they told her there was no 319 Hot Springs Road anymore". Eight people are still missing. About 7,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders. Images in Montecito revealed overturned vehicles caked in mud, along with trees ripped from the ground right near people's homes. Kelly Weimer, whose parents were killed when their Montecito home was swept away by flash floods, said they "were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK".

The Ventura County Air Unit also posted videos of their rescues, showing teams rescuing stranded individuals from the deadly mudslides.

A 14-year-old girl was discovered alive when firefighters using rescue dogs heard a scream on her mud-swollen Montecito street.

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"What a day! Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara. We were ramped up for the weather here and we used those ramped up resources down there", Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell said of sending Santa Maria resources.

According to the US Geological Survey, a storm that strikes a fire-scarred area only needs a rainfall intensity of about 10 millimetres per hour to pose the risk of producing debris flows.

Walking through her backyard in almost knee-deep mud, Winfrey posted a video to Instagram writing: "Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara".

Authorities said late Thursday that roughly 43 people were unaccounted for after heavy rains pounded the Thomas fire burn scar earlier this week and unleashed a torrent of mud, boulders and debris that killed 17 and destroyed scores of homes.

Other famous residents of Montecito include Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. Monday marked the second time within a span of two months that residents in California were asked to evacuate.

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