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Southern California Mudslides | Photos and Video

Highway 101 reopens as California mudslide toll climbs to 21


Reuters
News Agency

Monday, January 22, 2018, 6:23 - California's iconic Highway 101 in Santa Barbara reopened on Sunday nearly two weeks after it was covered with 12 feet (3.7 meters) of debris from mudslides, and a day after the discovery of a missing woman's body pushed the death toll to 21.

Torrential rains triggered the Jan. 9 mudslides, which injured dozens more people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of buildings around the affluent community of Montecito, 85 miles (137 km) northwest of Los Angeles.

The reopening of the busy north-south coastal highway followed what the state transportation agency Caltrans called a "Herculean effort," and was expected to ease hours-long detours and traffic chaos that bedeviled commuters.



RELATED: ARE THESE MUDSLIDES GOING TO BE THE NORM FOR CALIFORNIA?

Cleanup crews had been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts, officials said, while ferry boats had been making commuter runs twice a day between Santa Barbara and Ventura to help residents trying to get to work.

Search and rescue teams continued working with dogs on Sunday in Montecito to look for a two-year-old and a 17-year-old who are still missing, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter.

On Saturday the teams found the body of missing 28-year-old Faviola Benitez Calderon, of Montecito. She belonged to a family that lost several members in the disaster.

"The Sheriff's Office wants to express our deepest condolences to the Benitez family, who were already mourning the loss of Faviola's 10-year-old son, Jonathan Benitez and his cousin 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, as well as Kailly's mother, 27-year-old Marilyn Ramos," the office said in a statement.



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The discovery of Calderon's body brought the number of fatalities to 21. The toll had already marked the greatest loss of life from a California mudslide in at least 13 years.

Below is a closer look at the devastation:

Search and rescue workers with dogs scour through properties after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. January 11, 2018. REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot

A car sits tangled in debris after being destroyed by mudslides in Montecito, California, U.S., January 10, 2018. Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via REUTERS

A kitchen in a home on Glen Oaks Road damaged by mudslides in Montecito, California, U.S., January 10, 2018. Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via REUTERS


Search and rescue workers and a dog scour through properties after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. January 11, 2018. REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot



A home on Glen Oaks Road damaged by mudslides in Montecito, California, U.S., January 10, 2018. Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via REUTERS

Boulders block a road after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. in this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, January 9, 2018. Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Traffic is at a standstill on the 101 Freeway which was closed between Ventura and Santa Barbara during a winter rain storm in Ventura, California, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Almeida

 












Firefighters clear a mud-blocked street in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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

 


Firefighters clear a mud-blocked street in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Watch below: What are debris flows?   


Emergency personnel carry a woman rescued from a collapsed house after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. January 9, 2018. Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via REUTERS

Firefighters walk past a mud-blocked street in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Emergency personnel rescue a man from flood waters and debris after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. in this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department January 9, 2018. Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS

Emergency personnel rescue people from flood waters and debris after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. in this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department January 9, 2018. Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS


(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker)

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