Oprah Winfrey's home damaged by deadly California mudslides

Heavy downpours in communities along the U.S. state's scenic coastline sent mud, boulders and tons of debris rolling down hills - destroying dozens of homes, demolishing cars and toppling trees. He also spoke about the damage.

The mudslides were triggered by torrential downpours that unleashed rain on the region, which was hit by last month's mammoth Thomas Fire - the largest wildfire ever recorded in California. Santa Barbara County Fire Department officials confirmed the number of fatalities rose from 13 to 15 overnight. The fire destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

Mudslides and flooding covered Highway 101 in the area of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria as a deadly winter storm crushed Santa Barbara County Tuesday morning, and the vital roadway will continue to be closed in both directions until at least Thursday night, Caltrans officials said.

Several homes have swept from their foundations and residents are unaccounted for as mud flows into Southern California neighborhoods below hillsides scarred by recent wildfires.

Search teams have worked around the clock, locating the dead, rescuing others and evacuating those who were simply stuck in homes but otherwise unharmed.

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Flash flooding and unsafe mudslides have swiftly become dangers, and residents are once again being forced to evacuate from their communities.

Bill Brown, the sheriff of Santa Barbara, said: "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, power lines, wrecked cars, lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes, let alone to get people out of them".

A storm that slammed a California coastal community is over. Authorities say multiple rescues are underway throughout the area.

Those numbers could increase when the search is expanded Wednesday and search-and-rescue teams reach new areas.

Winfrey posted video of herself wading through mud in her backyard to Instagram on Tuesday, although her home survived.

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