Death toll from California mudslides rises to 18

A member of the Long Beach Search and Rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito

"We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone", said Garrett Speirs, a 54-year-old artist who has been living in Montecito for 20 years.

A man has captured the dramatic moment a flash flood hit his home in California as the state endured intense storms and mudslides. The names were released following the notification of next of kin.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown defended the timing of the wireless emergency alert, saying they are supposed "to be used to notify someone of an active incident that is occurring".

County officials ordered residents in most of the southeastern corner of Montecito, an unincorporated community east of the city of Santa Barbara, out of their homes for what they said was likely to be one or two weeks to aid the search and recovery efforts.

While most homeowners have fire insurance, very few typically have flood insurance, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams said. Sawyer Corey and 25-year-old Morgan were initially pronounced missing.

Aerial footage over Montecito showed a contrast of widespread damage next to homes completely untouched by the disaster.

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But in the second image, captured Wednesday after the mudslides swept homes off their foundations and killed more than a dozen people, the impacts of both the wildfire and the flooding can clearly be seen. "Why didn't she stay upstairs?"

Josie Gower's daughter Hayden, is among the missing. "Why did she go downstairs?"

"Oh Lord, I am praying for the sweet town of Montecito". The two had traveled to Italy for five weeks with Josie's children past year.

Emergency managers need to recognize the possibility of future mudslides and determine which, if any, evacuation routes might not be available.

This affluent, upscale community near the famed San Ysidro Ranch with its sprawling, multimillion dollar homes and lush rolling lawns was previously best known as site of former US President John F. Kennedy's honeymoon with his bride, Jackie Bouvier, in 1953, and for its current celebrity residents.

Troy lives with her sister and brother-in-law, who, like her, were ready to leave but then decided against it.

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She says Marilyn Ramos doted on her only child, Kailly. "I thought I was dead there for a minute", Lauren Cantin said after workers spent six hours digging her out. Her body was found that night, near a highway hit by the slide. Elroy said many key structures on the property remained standing.

Riskin was a Los Angeles native and a longtime real estate agent.

Troy changed out of her mud-caked clothes and exchanged her Crocs for boots. Survived by her husband, two grown children and a grandson. Theresa was rescued and said to be in stable condition, but Roy did not survive. The school posted a statement about Rohter on Facebook.

Among dramatic historic examples in the mountains of Southern California, a 1934 storm unleashed runoff so intense that 30 people were killed, more than 480 homes were destroyed and a almost 60-ton (54-metric ton) boulder was pushed out of a canyon. "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity".

Rohter founded St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California, in 1994, current headmaster and friend Michael Van Hecke said.

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