Arts&Culture

At least 5 dead as rain, mud roil California in US

At least 5 dead as rain, mud roil California in US

That's where thousands of residents evacuated Monday over fears of destructive mudslides in areas where the state's largest-ever fire raged last month.

One person was killed in Los Angeles County when a big rig overturned in the northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway near Los Feliz, Saul Gomez, a public information officer for the California Highway Safety Patrol's Southern Divison, said. Oprah Winfrey also has a property in Montecito that is reportedly worth almost $90 million. Military vehicles arrive to assist evacuation operations at an area damaged by mudslides in Montecito, Calif. on January 9.

Just weeks ago, the rain was desperately needed as wildfires ravaged millions of acres across California.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown called it "a very somber day", and said the deaths were due to the storm.

At least 25 people were injured, 50 or more had to be rescued by helicopters, and an undetermined number of others were missing, authorities said.

Run-off from heavy rain caused devastation in Santa Barbara County, with officials saying mud was waist-deep in some areas.

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The "waist-high" mud destroyed homes, uprooted trees and washed away dozens of cars in Santa Barbara County, CNN reported.

Firefighters in Montecito, Calif., managed to rescue a young woman who was trapped for several hours in the debris of a home destroyed by mudslides in the Santa Barbara County community on Tuesday.

"Heavy rains have triggered massive runoff in the Montecito area", Eliason said in a series of tweets that worned residents to avoid the area that is "waist deep" mudflows in some locations.

Winfrey bought the property in 2001 in Montecito, which is also home to celebrities including Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, who also tweeted about the floods.

The rainstorm has moved out of the California area, but the landscape is strewn with rocks, debris and was "covered shoulder-high in places with mud the consistency of wet cement", according to the Associated Press.