'Window closing' to find survivors in USA mudslide

California mudslide rescuers 'hoping for a miracle' amid fears death toll could hit 57

Sheriff Bill Brown had given the larger number Thursday but cautioned that many or most of those people may simply have been unreachable to the family and friends who reported they couldn't find them. Heavy equipment and personnel are in the area, so please drive slow. "We've got all those chickens, which means we've got eggs, and they're ideal".

The dead victims range in age from three to 89. They were supported by K-9 units, 10 helicopters and six bulldozers.

After a better look at the damage, officials lowered the number of destroyed homes from 100 to 64 and raised the number of damaged ones from 300 to 446.

Bulldozers cleared roads of tangled trees, muck and boulders while tanker trucks were being used to haul off floodwaters sucked up from U.S. Highway 101.

The California Department of Transportation abandoned an estimate of reopening the highway on Monday and said it was not known when the closure would be lifted.

It's unclear how many people actually got the alert.

Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and fix power, water and gas lines. I'm hoping it's okay. Fallen power lines crisscrossed a neighbor's yard, and trees lay like knocked-over bowling pins. Days before the mudslides, the county issues repeated warnings on social media, news media and emails about the potential for mudslides during the major storm.

Before the news conference had ended, Brown returned to the microphone, and with a happy tone said a phone call had just come in about Keating.

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That's what caught the ear of Thomas Tighe, a Montecito resident who was outside around 3:30 a.m. checking his home's downspouts during a downpour.

"It is not a safe or convenient place to be right now", he said.

Jim and Alice Mitchell, who were both killed after their Montecito home was swept away when flash floods cascaded through their neighborhood had not left because their house was under a voluntary evacuation order, their daughter, Kelly Weimer said Wednesday.

"I think I'd like to stay out of their way", she said.

A factor contributing to the disaster was the suite of wildfires that hit the region, rendering the soil unable to absorb the deluge that hit the region during the most recent winter storm.

Residents woke early Tuesday morning and learned they didn't have much time to flee as the torrents of mud began flowing into the streets.

First responders waded through waste-high mud to rescue people. Then she added, with a laugh, "that's very unlike me".

"We've gotten multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud", said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. For workers trying to get the freeway reopened, the thought of victims buried in the muck casts a grim tone to an already dirty and hard task.

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