Nation & World

Mudslide-stricken California town is all but emptied out

Published:
AP photo A work crew cleans up an area of Highway 101 that flooded Friday in Montecito, Calif. The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error.[]

MONTECITO, Calif. – 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 repair power, water and gas lines.

Even those who didn’t lose their homes in the disaster that left at least 17 people dead were told to leave for up to two weeks so they wouldn’t interfere with the rescue and recovery operation in the Southern California town of 9,000.

It was another frustrating turn for those living in Montecito, a town that has been under siege and subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.