"As of Wednesday night, officials say the almost 500 people involved in search efforts had gone through about 75 percent of the 50-plus homes destroyed, and almost 450 damaged in their hunt for more survivors". On Thursday morning, a spokesperson reported that 48 people were missing, but that number was wrong and due to a clerical error, according to the Associated Press.
The grim discovery came around noon on a day in which searchers were going through damaged and destroyed homes, sometimes for a second time.
Last month's spate of wildfires, including the largest in California history, not only burned away grass and shrubs that held soil in place, but also baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground.
The county fire department tweeted a photo of a mud-encased 14-year-old girl being rescued alive from the rubble of a Montecito home. Even though the fire started about a month ago, officials say that they don't expect for it to be fully contained until later in January.
Winfrey posted a video of herself outside her Montecito mansion wading through near-knee deep mud.
DeGeneres detailed the mandatory evacuations that she and wife Portia de Rossi undertook during both the fires and the mudslides, noting that families of all backgrounds were, and continue to be, affected.
Winfrey shared harrowing footage of her backyard following the mudslides' roll through her neighborhood and on Tuesday.
Thirteen storm-related deaths were reported in Santa Barbara County, Sheriff Brown said.
"I have lived here my whole life", said Melissa Ausanka-Crues, 29, a nurse.
In updating the missing figure, Brown said that the precise number could fluctuate significantly. Firefighters, who battled blazes that swept through the area in December, went from flattened home to flattened home looking for survivors.
As search dogs clambered on heaps of wood that used to be homes, mud-spattered rescue teams from all over California worked their way through the ruins of Montecito, an enclave of 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.
The storm hit hard between 3 and 6 a.m. Tuesday.