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Oprah's home suffers 'minor damage' from Southern California mudslides

13 January 2018

Brown said some of those on the missing list may simply have left the area before or after the mudslides or may just be out of touch with the family and friends looking for them.

Dozens of stranded residents have been rescued by helicopter in areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties - some from their vehicles and others from rooftops.

The fires burned most vegetation, leaving flawless conditions for the latest tragedy to unfold.

"Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told the AP. She said that her property was fine and that the damage "pales in comparison" to what her neighbors were going through.

Heavy rain run-off caused a mudflow in Montecito, where some homes were knocked off their foundations, said Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason.

"All hell broke loose", said Peter Hartmann, a dentist who moonlights as a news photographer for the local website Noozhawk.

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According to some reports, more than 160 people were transported to hospitals for storm-related injuries.

Hundreds of firefighters and others sifted through mud and debris in Montecito, a town 145 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, after powerful rainstorms triggered a mudslide on Tuesday.

Tuesday's mudslides in Santa Barbara County were the result of wildfires followed by a heavy storm that sent rivers of debris streaming down steep hillsides.

Thomas Tighe said he stepped outside his Montecito home in the middle of the night and heard "a deep rumbling, an ominous sound I knew was ... boulders moving as the mud was rising".

The slide also caused a "significant" gas leak, and fix efforts left homes on the street with no gas, electricity or water.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres shared a photo on Twitter of the devastation in Montecito.

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Oprah Winfrey's home sustained minor damage after a major mudslide hit southern California.

Some of Montecito residents on Wednesday returned to their homes to see what they could salvage from the ruins.

Updates for this disaster will no doubt continue, and parts of coastal U.S. Route 101 are expected to remain closed for another few days, if not longer.

Flooding and debris inundate a portion of Highway 101 at Olive Mill Road. "I live there, Oprah lives there".

Forecasts of rain meant the authorities did issue an evacuation order in Santa Barbara county in case of mudslides, but it is estimated only around 10 to 15% of people in the area obeyed the warning.

"While some residents cooperated with the evacuations, many did not".

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Oprah's home suffers 'minor damage' from Southern California mudslides