Southern California mudslides, flooding leave at least 5 dead in Montecito, highways closed

At least five people were killed Tuesday after a powerful winter storm drenching Southern California sent mud and debris streaming down wildfire-scarred hillsides and into several neighborhoods, some of which house lavish celebrity homes.

The deaths were reported in the Montecito and Carpinteria areas northwest of Los Angeles, which were severely hit by flooding and a debris flow, Amber Anderson with the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Services confirmed to Fox News.?The Coast Guard said it is providing three to four air ships for rescue operations, but will not conduct air rescue missions if there are drones in the area.

There have been multiple rescues throughout the day in Montecito, known for its star power, as the enclave boasts the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and several other celebrities. Mike Eliason, a public information officer with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said the heavy rains triggered "massive runoff."

"Heavy rains have triggered massive runoff in the Montecito area," Eliason wrote on Twitter. "Multiple rescues from vehicles and structures are underway. Access is difficult/delayed due to-at some locations-waist deep mudflow, trees, and wires down. Avoid the area."

The Santa Barbara Fire Department told KEYT-TV?at least three homes have been destroyed by a mud and debris slide in the area of Hot Springs Road. One man was also rescued from mud that was up to his neck, Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni told KEYT.

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