Two dead amid California mudslides

Two dead amid California mudslides

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Los Angeles PD

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Burned out areas from wildfires are more susceptible to flooding and mudflow

At least two people are dead amid mudslides in Southern California, where heavy rains triggered flooding and massive run-off, US media report.

“Waist-deep” mudslides in areas scorched by wildfires last month shut down more than 30 miles (48km) of the main coastal highway, officials say.

Emergency crews are working to rescue multiple people trapped in vehicles and homes, a Santa Barbara official said.

At least eight people were injured and thousands have fled ahead of the rain.

Heavy rain run-off caused waist-deep mudflow in the Montecito, where some homes were knocked from their foundations, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Huber told the newspaper two people were found dead on Tuesday in Montecito and may have been killed as result of the storm.

Wildfires in December, including the Thomas Fire, swept through the area burning vegetation that helps prevent flooding and landslides.

Thousands of California residents were asked to evacuate on Monday for the second time in two months.

Homeowners in the area shared photos of mud in their homes.

Several roads are closed due to mudslides and debris, including the major thoroughfare Highway 101.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption and leads to an increased risk of mudslides and floods.

“Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where dangerous mud and debris flows are possible,” said the National Weather Service in a statement.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shared a warning for California homeowners explaining that homes that had never flooded before were now at risk.

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