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At least 5 dead as rain, mud roil California in US


Five victims have been killed as massive mudflows brought on by heavy rainfall paralyzed major transit routes in southern California, authorities said Tuesday, APA reports quoting BBC.

 

The Santa Barabara Sherriff's Office confirmed the deaths to Anadolu Agency but did not have additional information immediately available.

 

Mike Eliason, a spokesman with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said "multiple" rescue operations are underway in Montecito, which lies just east of Santa Barbara along the popular north-south 101 freeway.

 

"Heavy rains have triggered massive runoff in the Montecito area," Eliason said in a series of tweets that worned residents to avoid the area that is "waist deep" mudflows in some locations.

 

Footage posted by Eliason show first responders covered in thick black mud as they conduct rescue operations, surrounded by mass damage including toppled trees and power poles.

 

A woman was pulled out of a debris pile by firefighters, and a 14-year-old girl was saved from a destroyed home in Montecito, Eliason said.

 

Authorities had issued evacuation orders for seven thousand people in the area, and warned an additional 23,000 to leave as rains approached.

 

The heavy rain is affecting locations that had previously been devastated by some of the worst wildfires in California history, increasing worries about the possibility of mudslides in the freshly burned areas.

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