On Thursday, the number provided by authorities went from 48, down to eight, then back up to 43.
The cause of death for most of the victims will be listed as multiple traumatic injuries resulting from flash floods with mudslides, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office said.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said residents who had stayed behind or tried to check on damage in neighbourhoods had hindered the recovery effort. "We certainly hope there are going to be far fewer than that".
NBC Los Angeles reported 13 people died and more than 20 were injured in the slides.
Crews are rescuing residents from homes as mud and debris from wildfire-scarred hillsides inundate Southern California neighborhoods during a powerful winter storm.
Those stories of successful rescues are what have kept the groups going, 12 hours a day, trudging through the muck that was riddled with sharp objects and possibly raw sewage.
"This room is always so full of positivity and love and today I really need it", an emotional DeGeneres told the studio.
"Oh Lord, I am praying for the sweet town of Montecito".
"We were expecting rain this week and usually we're grateful for rain, especially in California, but not after the largest fire in the history of California", she continued.
"4 feet 9 raging mud in the house". "They were digging in the Montecito Inn and down there in the parking lots yesterday, and I think there may have been some fatalities down there, I don't know". "He's been a deep supporter of the school in every way and a mentor to me personally, to the faculty and to the kids". "I feel like I escaped". Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled their homes when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuation orders were voluntary. "I don't know anything about our house yet".
Mudflows washed out a almost 30-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway between Santa Barbara and Ventura, and also prompted evacuations in parts of Burbank and Los Angeles on Tuesday.
But Santa Barbara County clearly took the brunt of the damage, where mud, boulders, husks of cars and housing frames were common sights.