Deadly mudslides kill at least 13 people in California

RESCUED: Firefighters successfully rescued a girl after she was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito RESCUED: Firefighters successfully rescued a girl after she was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito Twitter

HEAVY rain has triggered devastating mudslides in America leaving at least 13 people dead with officials likening the scene to a ‘World War One battlefield’.

Officials are warning that the death toll is likely to rise as the search for survivors continues and an unknown number of people unaccounted for.

Worried relatives have taken to posting appeals on social media to trace their loved ones.

Heavy downpours sent a sea of mud, boulders and tons of debris rolling down hills - destroying dozens of homes, demolishing cars and toppling trees.

Montecito, one of the areas hardest hit by the mudslides, is a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people.

Bill Brown, the sheriff of Santa Barbara, said, "The best way I can describe it is, it looked like a World War One battlefield.

"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, power lines, wrecked cars, lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes, let alone to get people out of them."

More than 50 people were rescued from rooftops because trees and power lines were blocking roads.

Mandatory evacuations had been ordered in parts of the county but it is believed only 10% to 15% of residents actually heeded the warning.

US Coast Guard helicopters are being used to rescue 300 people who are stranded in a canyon.

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