"It is with heavy hearts we share that our dear friend and partner, Rebecca Riskin, has passed away as a result of the tragic flooding and mudslides in Montecito", the company wrote in a Facebook post.
On Wednesday, loved ones searched for Montecito resident Josie Gower near her home, which was surrounded by knee-deep mud and large boulders that had been carried by the force of the mudslides.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said: "We've got a window that's closing but we're still very optimistic we've got some time". Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged and 19 people killed. At least 17 people died and dozens of residents are still unaccounted for.
A factor contributing to the disaster was the suite of wildfires that hit the region, rendering the soil unable to absorb the deluge that hit the region during the most recent winter storm.
Triggered by heavy rains, the massive slides struck before dawn on Tuesday, local time. "They took it right to the hospital".
Tanker trucks sucked muddy water from flooded sections of U.S. 101, the only direct major artery between Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara region.
John McManigal, 61, had six sons and owned a financing company in Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a Facebook post by his brother.
She said as her house was positioned on a knoll, she felt secure and that despite being informed she wouldn't have water or gas, she feels grateful.
And because of the fire, communities below the scarred terrain could remain at risk of mudslides for years, said Randall Jibson, a research geologist with the US Geological Survey. That includes Summerland and Carpinteria, where an evacuation warning had been issued.
He said on Facebook that 4 feet 9 inches of "raging mud" filled their home and that his car was swept away. "Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity". "It's as devastating as can be", Oprah said. At first business was effected by the Thomas Fire, but now tourists who usually frequent the area can't come because of the freeway closure. That meant even those who had stayed behind would have to leave and those who entered the zone would be subject to arrest. An active search and rescue operation is ongoing, officials said. The roofs of some homes in canyon runoff areas were encased in mud, which has now dried.
"Billy and I went down to the house and the whole time we were talking about let's just keep the parents calm to make sure they're aware that we're going to keep them safe", said Coast Guard Petty Officer Aaron Custer.
Several officials said the mandatory evacuation of Montecito on Thursday evening has allowed damage assessment and repair crews to do more work more efficiently and helped search-and-rescue teams reach people who are still trapped by the mud and search for those who might not have survived. The host opened her show talking to the audience about the devastation before she FaceTimed Winfrey, who lives in the same Santa Barbara County area as DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi.
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