Emergency workers search areas damaged from storms in Montecito, Calif., Jan. 11, 2018.
Images taken before and after the mudslides in Montecito, California, show the extent of the destruction.
The California mudslide that killed at least 18 people is causing distress miles from where the torrent of muck and boulders stopped, as a local economy that thrives on tourism and the lure of sun-soaked beaches was left reeling.
Just weeks after wildfires devastated California, the southern part of the state is seeing massive mudslides in Santa Barbara County.
Resident Thomas Tige and his family were forced to the roof of their home after opting not to heed a voluntary evacuation advisory issued for their neighborhood, the AP reported. A huge police presence keeps out both residents and looters.
"Normally water's kept in the channels, but with debris flows with the water, it dams up the area and forces debris to back flush", he said.
But the areas are hard to access, she added, with mud that is 10 feet deep in certain places.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department released photos of U.S. Route 101 that was flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek.
The mud swept homes off their foundations and caused a 30-square-mile debris flow.
A factor contributing to the disaster was the suite of wildfires that hit the region, rendering the soil unable to absorb the deluge that hit the region during the most recent winter storm. At least two unrecognizably mangled cars were carried like driftwood all the way to the beach, where they were partly covered in seaweed.
Cathy Atkinson, 71, said she had been receiving updates on the situation through daily phone calls from her daughter, who lives in Geneva. McTigue said the scene looked very different this time around.
For others, the grim reality was just beginning as workmen dug through the debris.
"We are heartbroken over the loss of lives in our community", said "The Big Lebowski" star. "You have to start accepting the reality of that". "Who would've expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon?"
It also included James Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before with his wife, Alice, of more than 50 years.
The youngest victim, Kailley Benitez, three, died alongside her mother and 10-year-old cousin. None of the adult dead shared their last names.
Yesterday, 87-year-old Joseph Bleckel was found dead in his Montecito home, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
"My sister was such a good person, she only thought of others to the point that she would cry with you when you were hurt or sick", said Ramos' sister, Jennifer Ramos, pausing to sob for several seconds.
The damage above Montecito isn't absolute.
He said on Facebook that 4 feet 9 inches of "raging mud" filled their home and that his auto was swept away.
"It's just waiting and not knowing, and the more I haven't heard from them - we have to find them", Kelly Weimer, whose elderly parents remain missing, told the Associated Press.
A few streets away, Abbe and Gary Shaw counted their blessings. Winfrey also revealed that while she didn't need to evacuate from her home, she was told that she wouldn't have running water or gas.
The evacuation order came as authorities announced a spike in the number of residents still unaccounted for.
There, they called 911 and waited six long and exhausting hours while talking to a dispatcher on the phone.
"Most injuries we saw were related to fast-moving debris", Wilson said.
"Had we not gone over there, I don't think that kid would have [survived]", he added. "What would we have done with the animals?"