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Reports: Flooding, mudslides wash out roads in Southern California as death toll rises to 13

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
January 10, 2018, 7:25:31 AM EST

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As of 7:42 p.m. PST Tuesday, this story is no longer being updated.

Heavy rain is wreaking havoc across Southern California by causing numerous mudslides and road closures.

Power outages and several rescues of stranded residents have been reported throughout the town of Montecito on Tuesday, where a stretch of U.S. Highway 101 was closed. At least 13 fatalities have been reported, according to the Associated Press.

Evacuation orders for residents in burn scar areas from recent wildfires were first issued on Sunday by Santa Barbara County officials. Mandatory evacuations were ordered on Monday afternoon for areas impacted by the Creek Fire near Sylmar, as rain moved through the region.

The rain is a part of the first significant winter storm of the season for California. While rain will wind down throughout the day in Northern California, it is expected to continue through Tuesday in the southern portion of the state.

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6:52 p.m. PST Tuesday:

Multiple roads are closed across Death Valley National Park due to flooding from heavy rain. People planning to visit the park in the coming weeks should pay attention to all closures.

6:00 p.m. PST Tuesday:

Rain is tapering off across Southern California with the heaviest rain currently soaking San Diego.

Drier weather is expected on Wednesday, but some roads may remain closed due to flooding and mudslides. This includes a portion of the 101 near Montecito which could remain closed until the end of the week as crews work to clear mud and debris.

radar socal 9pm

The weather radar across Southern California at 6 p.m. PST Tuesday. Areas of yellow and red indicate the areas of heaviest rain.

truck water

A semi-tractor trailer sitting in mud and flood water on US Highway 101 near Montecito, California. (Photo/SBCFireInfo)

4:35 p.m. PST Tuesday:

The death toll from flooding and debris flows in Southern California has risen to 13, according to the Associated Press. This number may rise further as rescues continue across the area.

At least 50 people have been rescued so far after flash floods and debris flows occurred across the region on Tuesday amid heavy rain.

debris flow house

A house damaged by a debris flow in Montecito, California. (Photo/SBCFireInfo)

3:37 p.m. PST Tuesday:

State Route 33 is closed north of Ojai, California after a mudslide impacted the area. The road was damaged on Tuesday amid heavy rain.

caltrans road

State Route 33 north of Ojai, California. SR-33 remains closed between Fairview Road and Lockwood Valley Road. (Photo/Caltrans District 7)

2:50 p.m. PST Tuesday:

Erosion control holding up off Interstate 210 in La Tuna Canyon Fire burn area. Caltrans is in process of installing fiber rolls and more netting as well.

Rain is starting to pick up again, motorists are advised to be careful on roads and allow extra time for travel.

1:45 p.m. PST Tuesday:

The death toll has risen to eight in Santa Barbara County following flooding and debris flows, according to the LA Times.

12:15 p.m. PST Tuesday:

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for Country Club Drive in Burbank, Calif.

12:00 p.m. PST Tuesday:

The US 101 Freeway at the Olive Mill Road overpass is completely flooded with runoff water from Montecito Creek. The highway will remain closed until further notice.

11:45 a.m. PST Tuesday:

The terminal 2 customs area at LAX Airport is closed due to flooding. International arrivals are being bused to the Tom Bradley Terminal International Terminal for processing. Travelers can be picked up at the arrival level at Tom Bradley.

Officials do not have an estimate on when terminal 2 will be reopened.

11:30 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Air support responded to help a trapped rescue team on East Valley Road in Montecito, Calif.

11:05 a.m. PST Tuesday:

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Thomas Fire and Whittier Fire burn areas, along the Santa Barbara County south coast. More flash flooding is possible in Montecito and Carpinteria.

This means that flooding and debris flows are imminent or occurring in these areas. The County of Santa Barbara highly suggests leaving debris flow areas and go to high ground now.


For latest traffic incidents/road closures, click here.

10:45 a.m. PST Tuesday:

The Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) and CAL Fire are assisting in Santa Barbra County with debris flow removal in Carpinteria.

VCFD urges residents to remain vigilant and informed of weather forecast and potential for more rain in the afternoon hours.

10:30 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Latest confirmed fatality is at Olive Mill Road. This brings to six the number of people dead during storm in the Montecito area.

Roughly 11,000 residents are without power across Southern California according to Southern California Edison's power Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 1.32.49 PM.png

Image via Southern California Edison's power

10:00 a.m. PST Tuesday:

A beach advisory is now in effect for Los Angeles County. Avoid contact with ocean water around storm drains, creeks and rivers through Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018 due to the presence of bacteria, debris and other hazards washed down by the rain.

Stay away from flood control channels, rivers and basins during and after the rain. Flash flooding can occur suddenly and without warning.

The national guard has responded and is on Coast Village Road in Santa Barbara.

9:45 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Firefighters rescue a girl who was trapped in Montecito, Calif. following heavy rain and mudflow in the 300 block of Hot Springs Road.

Santa Barbara County Firefighters are using a rescue dog attempts to find more victims under the rubble.

California Storms

In this photo mud and debris flow on the roadway due to heavy rain in Montecito. Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

9:35 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Five fatalities have been reported and at least eight people injured.

La Tuna Canyon Road between Sunland Blvd and the 210 Freeway remains closed to all vehicle traffic.

Rain is causing trees to fall on the roadway in Southern California. If you see a tree on the roadway, there is a chance there are also downed power lines. If you see power lines on the roadway stay clear of them and call 911.

It’s not safe to walk through rain water, there is no way to tell if there is a downed power line in the water. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity and there’s no way to tell if a downed power line is still energized.

9:25 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Several freeways and highways are closed in Ventura County and Los Angeles County due to mudslides and flooding caused by heavy rain.

9:05 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Footage from the Burbank Police Department shows how fast water and mud is flowing down the hills in the area.

8:50 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Two fatalities have been reported and at least eight people injured in Montecito as a result of the damaging storm.

8:06 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Santa Barbara County officials report that a dangerous situation is unfolding on Highway 101 as multiple vehicles are reportedly driving in the wrong direction. The authorities are urging residents to stay home and avoid the roads.

"Take protective actions to stay safe which may include sheltering-in-place or seeking high ground, avoiding power lines and trees, staying off roads and highways, and do not attempt to leave and drive across flowing water or mud," officials stated.

In Los Angeles County, several police officers were responding to help with evacuations, but their vehicle was consumed by the fast-flowing mud. The officers have been confirmed safe.

lapd mud

7:57 a.m. PST Tuesday:

This footage shows U.S. Highway 101 covered in mud between the towns of Montecito and Summerland.

7:25 a.m. PST Tuesday:

Damage and road closures were reported around Santa Barbara County early Tuesday morning, according to local officials. A musdslide has closed a stretch of U.S. Highway 101 in Montecito with people reportedly trapped in their cars, according to NBC Los Angeles.

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