Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges among those impacted by mudslides

Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges among those impacted by mudslides

Frustrations and dark discoveries mounted for the Santa Barbara County town of Montecito, which has been ravaged by a destructive mudslide that has killed at least 18 people and left another seven missing. The dead ranged in age from 3 to 89.

Authorities believe five people are still missing, aged between two and 30.

Gas and electricity supplies were expected to be cut off in the area on Saturday.

It is not clear when Highway 101 will re-open.

The husbands of both women and the 2-year-old son of Fabiola Benitez, were hospitalized with injuries, Ramos said.

Meanwhile, the death toll rose Saturday to 19, as the body of 25-year-old Morgan Corey was recovered in debris.

The disaster was already unfolding when Santa Barbara County officials sent out their first cellphone alert at 3:50 a.m. County emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to send one sooner out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

Among those killed in the mudslides was Mark Montgomery, MD, an orthopedic hand surgeon affiliated with Santa Barbara-based Cottage Health and the Santa Barbara-based private practice Associated Hand Surgeons, according to KSBY-6 News.

A man in Montecito, southern California, has captured a video of the dramatic moment a flash flood swept through the street outside his home, as he shouted at a motorist to drive away to safety. At least 17 people died in the slides and officials late on Thursday raised to 43 the number of missing people they were searching for, from eight earlier in the day, and warned that finding more survivors in the thick brown mud was becoming unlikely.

In updating the missing figure, Brown said that the precise number could fluctuate significantly.

Marveling at the scale of destruction, several firefighters wondered aloud how some areas would ever get back to normal because there's just so much mud covering the ground, never mind the damage to homes and other buildings. All warnings and orders for neighboring Summerland and Carpinteria were lifted.

Despite his home filled with water and mud, Farrell and his family found solace in the home's hallway.

And because of the fire, communities below the scarred terrain could remain at risk of mudslides for years, said Randall Jibson, a research geologist with the US Geological Survey. While they count Oprah and Ellen as neighbors, they lamented the losses suffered by those who can ill afford it.

"I don't think they could have ever saw this coming, but I think that if they had said everybody should leave, we wouldn't have seen as many people in this situation right now", Barajas said. "There's nearly always more" that could come down, Jibson said. "But they're talking two weeks of closure".

His son said: "There was evacuation fatigue from the fire".

Winfrey wasn't under a mandatory evacuation order because her house is higher up on a hill, but she has been using social media to show just how bad the scenes were in Montecito this week.

"We have got to get those basins cleaned as fast as we can", Lewin said.

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