At least 13 dead after mudslides rip through California

Cars are seen stranded on the 101 Freeway near Summerland on Jan. 9 2018

Cars are seen stranded on the 101 Freeway near Summerland on Jan. 9 2018

"The correct number of missing is down to eight", Mike Eliason, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, told Xinhua in a phone interview.

Roads have been closed and rescue operations are underway in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

During an episode of her daytime talk show, Ellen shared how the deadly wildfires had forced her and wife Portia de Rossi to evacuate their home in Montecito, a wealthy coastal enclave north-west of Los Angeles.

The slides occurred in the area of the massive Thomas fire that recently was extinguished.

The sheriff said "at least several dozen homes have been either destroyed or severely damaged, and likely many other ones are in areas that are as-yet inaccessible".

Santa Barbara County Sheriff confirmed the number of fatalities and said search-and-rescue efforts were underway in Santa Barbara County to locate people who may be alive and trapped.

Firefighters slogged through mud and debris to reach 14-year-old Laura Cantin in a rescue effort that took almost six hours Tuesday in Santa Barbara County.

On Tuesday, rescuers were able to reach at least 50 people by helicopter.

Bill Horseman said, "I feel lucky 112 olive mill road they came and rescued us at 4 in the morning and here were are". Officials said numerous deaths are believed to be in the coastal Montecito area that is home to a number of celebrities, CNN reported.

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

"I thought I was dead for a minute there", the dazed girl could be heard saying before she was taken away on a stretcher on a video posted by KNBC-TV.

The intense rains overwhelmed the slopes above the affluent neighborhood of Montecito, flooding the creeks and sending a rush of mud and boulders into the residential community.

Rescue crews searched for survivors on Wednesday following the disaster that flattened homes and swept away cars.

Four more flu deaths reported in North Carolina