Hard search goes on in California mudslides

Cars are seen stranded on the 101 Freeway near Summerland on Jan. 9 2018

Emergency workers search areas damaged from storms in Montecito, Calif., Jan. 11, 2018. "So many times over the past 15 years, people have come up to me and say to me that when they're going through a tough time this show helps them through it", DeGeneres told her audience.

The Thomas fire was the largest wildfire in recorded California history. A huge police presence keeps out both residents and looters. About 6,000 homes and businesses were without power, and many areas still had no water or sewer service.

"This is how deep the mud is", Winfrey can be heard saying on the video.

Crews in tanker trucks worked to remove the muddy water from the flooded sections of USA 101, a highway connecting Los Angeles to the Santa Barbara region.

More: 30 square miles.

The mudslides also injured almost 30 people and destroyed about 100 homes in the Montecito area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest. Troy said her cottage was probably ok, but at least three of her family's cars were flooded, filled with debris or carried away - and likely some combination of all three.

Crews are using backhoes, jackhammers and shovels to look for victims and clear roads.

A doctor and his daughter who died in the arms of her brother were among the 19 people killed in devastating mudslides.

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For others, the grim reality was just beginning as workmen dug through the debris.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office issued a plea for information but acknowledged that finding anyone alive would be a "miracle".

"We know the area intimately", he said. "You never really know".

A Mexican woman says her 27-year-old sister, her 3-year-old niece and the girl's 10-year-old cousin died when pre-dawn mudslides hit the home they were renting in Montecito.

The mudslides, which came in the early morning hours of Tuesday, killed at least 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes. None of the adult dead shared their last names.

"The flash flood is right there!"

The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error.

Stephanie Archangelo will be leaving her family behind to head towards devastation, all to help people she's never met. Some streets suffered no damage.

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In addition, eight commercial buildings were destroyed and 20 were damaged.

The searches themselves are slow, largely because the mud is so hard to walk through and hides myriad dangers. "He has done so much for so many people and pro-life and Catholic education causes". Like many, the couple described hearing explosions during the slide as gas lines ruptured and exploded.

He said he regretted not forcing his elderly parents to evacuate.

The Montecito community will need months, if not years, to completely recover. The two had traveled to Italy for five weeks with Josie's children past year. "What would we have done with the animals?"

"The mud just." she said, her voice trailing off.

Mark Montgomery, 54, a doctor at Associated Hand Surgeons, was at home with his wife and two children when they were caught in the mudslide, a family friend told KSBY.

"We've got a window that's closing, but we're still very optimistic".

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