California mudslides: Death toll rises to 19; Santa Barbara County authorities struggle to restore water, power supply
The death toll from the mudslides in a California coastal town rose to 19 on Saturday but a man who had also been on the list of missing persons was located alive
Montecito: The death toll from the mudslides in a California coastal town rose to 19 on Saturday but a man who had also been on the list of missing persons was located alive, authorities said.
The body of Morgan Christine Corey, 25, was found in mud and debris in Montecito, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. Her 12-year-old sister, Sawyer, had been found dead earlier.
"We ask that you keep this devastated family in your thoughts and prayers," Brown said.
Another person who had been on the list of missing, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin, was found alive and well, Brown said without elaborating on the circumstances. The two developments reduced the number of missing from seven to five.
"While every hour it remains less likely that we will find anyone alive, there is always hope," the sheriff said. The army of searchers and recovery workers in Montecito swelled to more than 2,000 five days after a powerful storm swept in from the Pacific and dumped a deluge on mountain slopes above the coastal enclave that were burned bare by a huge wildfire in December.
The backbreaking work went on in the summerlike weather that has made the stretch of Santa Barbara County coast about 145 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles a haven for the wealthy, celebrities and tourists.
"We have to do whatever it takes," said Captain Tom Henzgen, leader of a team from the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Long-range forecasts gave the crews about a week before the next chance of rain — and potential new mudslides — although the precipitation was expected to be disorganised and light. Another system was possible two days later.
Crews worked throughout the day Saturday to clear debris basins and officials said there was still a lot more work to be done. But Tom Fara, the deputy director of the county's flood control district, said the crews were making great progress and he was confident that at least a base level of water would be able to pass through the creek channels.
Much of the community of about 9,000 remained under mandatory evacuation orders, even unscathed areas, as crews both removed debris and worked to restore water, sanitation, power and gas. All warnings and orders for neighboring Summerland and Carpinteria were lifted. Brown urged anyone in mandatory evacuation areas to leave immediately.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 'elderly statesman': Decoding the former governor and actor's political success
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a more popular political figure today in California than when he was elected — a feat for a Republican in a state so blue.
The shoes, with their canvas tops and tough, diamond-patterned rubber soles, caught the fancy of skateboarders.
How the reopening of Disneyland in California marks a turnaround for the state's grim COVID-19 crisis
At Disneyland, visitors must wear masks and can remove them to eat only in designated areas. Hugs and handshakes with characters are off limits, and parades and fireworks shows have been shelved to limit crowding.