California's Mudslides Have Killed At Least 15 People, And Two Dozen Are Still Missing

Southern California's mudslides have killed at least 15 people as of Wednesday morning—up from 13 deaths on Tuesday. Around five inches of rain drenched the region, which created rivers of mud, rocks and debris that swamped neighborhoods as a direct result of charred lands from the state's recent devastating fires.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office confirmed the 15 deaths Wednesday, but was not able to provide additional details. Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout Tuesday night. Two dozen people were unaccounted for, reported the New York Times.

The county's Sheriff Bill Brown told CBS This Morning that officials are currently working to identify people who may still be trapped, particularly in isolated areas.

"We don't know how many additional people are still trapped," Brown said. "I think most people are really shocked at the extent of the damage and how big the impact was to the area. Certainly, although we knew that this was coming … you couldn't help but be amazed by the intensity of the storm and the result of the mudslide and the water that cascaded down the hills as a result of that."

The founder of St. Augustine Academy, Roy Rohter, was one of those killed in Ventura County, reported the Los Angeles Times. He and his wife were swept from their home in the mudslide early Tuesday morning. His wife was rescued and in stable condition.

Though thousands were evacuated from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, one Montecito neighborhood was not under mandatory evacuations. At least six people were rescued there. Some 50 people elsewhere were rescued by air and dozens more from the ground, reported the Los Angeles Times. Around 7,000 residents above Montecito closer to the fire zone were the focus of the evacuation order, reported the Los Angeles Times. Images in Montecito revealed overturned vehicles caked in mud, along with trees ripped from the ground right near people's homes. Some homes were destroyed by the mudslides.

A wealthy Montecito neighborhood was also swamped with mud after the mudslides. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gigi Hadid were among those who live in the coastal city where the nearby 101 Freeway turned into a muddy river, reported ABC News. A 30-mile stretch between Santa Barbara and Ventura along the 101 Freeway—where a swath of the Thomas fire burn area was located—was closed, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Walking through her backyard in nearly knee-deep mud, Winfrey posted a video to Instagram writing: "Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara. Woke up to this blazing gas fire. … Helicopters rescuing my neighbors."