Father, brother of girl, 14, rescued from mudslide still missing, friend says

Mud fills the interior of a car destroyed in a rain-driven mudslide in a neighborhood under mandatory evacuation in Burbank

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Search-and-rescue operations are the priority for crews working in the closed area from Milpas Street to Highway 150, and that affects progress toward reopening the highway, a Caltrans spokeswoman said.

As the largest wildfire in California state history, the month-long Thomas Fire, still burned nearby, heavy rainfall created devastating mudslides in Santa Barbara County, just north of Los Angeles.

The search for additional possible victims is continuing.

On the fourth day of search for victims of the southern California mudslides, the death toll has increased to 19 people, the Santa Barbara sheriff's office tells NPR.

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The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.

As deadly mudslides ravaged southern California communities Tuesday, a Montecito, California man dug through the wreckage to make a tragic discovery. Her son told her to stay upstairs, but he told KSBY-6 she went to the ground level and was taken by the knee-deep current of mud.

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The post said she had two children, Julia and Robert, and a husband, Ken Grand.

The order to stay away was another hard turn for those living in the Southern California town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.

It was not until Wednesday night that her body was confirmed to be found by first responders.

The statement says Riskin was an "exceptional woman" who had exuded strength, grace and elegance.

Pitney said many rescues were still happening Wednesday and Thursday, but most if not all were of people who were safe but just wanted to get out of the area.

Many celebrities who have homes in Montecito have discussed the mudslides on social media, giving first-hand accounts of the incident and offering their condolences to those who lost their lives. On Thursday they believed dozens were unaccounted for, but the number was revised down.

The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 17.

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A semi-tractor trailer sits stuck in mud on U.S. Highway 101, in Montecito.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department firefighters respond to mud and debris flow due to heavy rain in Montecito.

County emergency manager Jeff Gater saidthat the alert issued around 3.50am on Tuesday was sent because of deteriorating conditions and followed one issued by the National Weather Service.

Authorities also say only a small percentage of residents heeded mandatory and voluntary evacuation warnings.

Routes in and out of Santa Barbara have been shut down from the south, and various roadways have been swallowed by the floods.

Today, residents of Montecito, Calif., are being told to evacuate as emergency crews turn off gas and power to continue to clear mud and debris.

It continued to smolder before a drenching Pacific storm hit bare hills and mountains this week, unleashing debris-laden flash floods that swept away homes and killed at least 17 people.

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Marshall also says that other incidents at schools across Canada have emphasized the importance of such policies. More than 50,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the university to expel Neurauter.

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