The water and powerful debris flows destroyed about 100 homes and damaged 300 others in the Montecito community, known for its multimillion-dollar properties.
"It's just waiting and not knowing, and the more I haven't heard from them - we have to find them", said Kelly Weimer, whose elderly parents' home was wrecked by the torrent of mud, trees and boulders that flowed down a fire-scarred mountain and slammed into the coastal town of Montecito in Santa Barbara County early Tuesday.
The geological survey said many deaths from debris flows occur when people are asleep, just as happened in Montecito, where heavy rain fell in a short period of time a few hours after midnight.
Brown said Thursday that they have a list of 48 missing individuals, some of which are active cases and some are from calls to the Emergency Operations Center and Family Assistance Center.
On the edge of the disaster zone, John Flynn looked dazed as he stood in the driveway of his home. "There hasn't been a sound definition of what constitutes a missing person". On Thursday they believed dozens were unaccounted for, but the number was revised down.
"This is the same debris that went to the ocean in the storm", he said. "It's filled with a lot of different types of people form all backgrounds and there are families missing".
"We would be smashing right now", said manager Sean Johnson, referring to a typical Friday crowd at the restaurant on the edge of Santa Barbara Harbor.
Uncertainty remains around the exact number of people still missing, as authorities warned the figure may continue to fluctuate.
But Monroe said it was stressful after evacuating three times during the wildfire to be packing up a fourth time and looking at spending up to $3,000 a week for a hotel. "Who would've expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon?" she said.
However, with most utilities about to be cut off and sewage running into the nearby creek, she decided to heed the order to leave. Sometimes it takes us 10, 15 minutes to go a hundred yards.
Ken Oplinger, who heads the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, said the combination of the wildfire and the mudslide could doom some smaller businesses.
The air smelled of sewage and ash as more than a dozen firefighters climbed through rubble in the backyard of a mansion that had been ripped in half.
Oprah Winfrey's property is just a mess.
The storm hit hard between 3 and 6 a.m. Tuesday.
DeGeneres also posted scenes on social media this week.
At least 17 people have been killed in mudslides near Montecito.
Search teams were methodically combing the rubble and debris left by the mudslides with the help of trained K-9s.
"Everyone that knew him thought he was a character", he said of his brother. If you can imagine, like, a fly fisherman's suit, that's kind of what I'm wearing every day. "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity". "It's emotional for me to say this, but I think they're gone". "It is with heavy hearts we share that our dear friend and partner, Rebecca Riskin, has passed away as a result of the tragic flooding and mudslides in Montecito", the company wrote in a Facebook post.