6 killed, several stranded in California mudslide

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Now, the storm coming in from the Gulf of Alaska could dump up to 4 inches of rain on Northern California areas still recovering from fires before clearing up by Tuesday evening, National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson said.

Heavy rain was falling in areas charred by recent wildfires, triggering warnings of flash flooding and mudslides because vegetation that otherwise would hold hills together and make the terrain flood-resistant has burned away.

Mudslides, boulders and tons of debris killed at least 13 people on Tuesday in communities along California's scenic coastline ravaged by a series of intense wildfires that burned off protective vegetation last month.

Most deaths were believed to have occurred in Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, said Santa Barbara County spokesman David Villalobos.

Crews worked to clear debris from roads across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a key stretch of US 101 that was brought to a standstill along the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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Twenty people were hospitalized and four were described as "severely critical" by Dr. Brett Wilson of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Police and fire officials in Los Angeles helped with evacuations in areas damaged by the Creek and Fish fires, officials said.

The fire department published a picture of the girl encased in mud as she was led to safety.

Boulders the size of small cars were rolling down hillsides, and blocking roads, reports BBC News Los Angeles correspondent James Cook.

"Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where risky mud and debris flows are possible", said the National Weather Service in a statement. Downtown San Francisco got a record 3.15 inches (8 centimeters) of rain on Monday, smashing the old mark of 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) set in 1872.

Knowing this week's rains likely were trouble, officials ordered evacuations for thousands of people ahead of time.

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The Mudslides swept through both the mandatory evacuation zones and areas where people were urged to voluntarily leave, Brown said.

The County Fire Department said on its Twitter feed it was using dogs to look for victims where multiple homes once stood in Montecito following heavy rain, with more than 20 people reported missing.

Flooding near La Conchita has prompted the closure of parts of US Route 101 in Ventura County, the sheriff's office there said Tuesday morning.

"Waist-deep" mudslides in areas scorched by wildfires last month shut down more than 48km of the main coastal highway, officials say.

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