Rescuers search wreckage for victims as death toll rises
The number of people thought to have died in California's destructive mudslides has been put at 17 with at least a dozen more still missing.
Over a 100 homes have been destroyed and around 300 damaged after walls of mud poured through affluent communities along a stretch of Southern California coastline.
Verdant hillsides that had provided estates with a sense of seclusion were largely denuded by last month's historic wildfires, making them vulnerable to the massive mud and debris slides that sent boulders crashing into homes, turned highways into raging rivers and shredded cars into tangles of metal.
Santa Barbara Country Sheriff Bill Brown:
"Our coroner's office and our forensic unit are working around the clock to make careful identifications to be absolutely positive that we make the right identifications, and to work with and notify the next of kin.
At this time, we are not ready to release the names of the victims or identifying information, but I anticipate that we will be doing that in the near future."
Rescuers are combing wreckage for victims - more than 50 people have been rescued but many places remain inaccessible 48 hours after roads were left impassible.
The US coast Guard has sent multiple vessels to support rescue operations and help with evacuations.