The mud came in an instant and swept away everything in its path. Trees, homes, vehicles, even people — nothing was spared from the rapidly flowing mud’s wrath.
Images taken before and after the mudslides in Montecito, California, show the extent of the destruction.
The neighborhood of Randall Road turned from lush green to a deep brown, with wide swaths of street transformed into a flooded landscape.
The mudslides began after heavy rains early Tuesday created rivers of mud and debris that ran down hillsides in Santa Barbara County. Seventeen people have died in the mudslides, and another 17 were unaccounted for, authorities said.
Before the destruction, Channel Drive was a wide street that weaved between the Coral Casino and the Biltmore Hotel and continued along the oceanfront.
But as the images below show, the mudslides left the length of the street uncrossable and covered in mud and water.
That level of destruction was not uncommon in this part of California. Resident Peter Hartmann told CNN affiliate KCAL that the mudslides’ destruction was all around.
“There were gas mains that had popped, where you could hear the hissing,” he said.
“Power lines were down, high-voltage power lines, the large aluminum poles to hold those were snapped in half. Water was flowing out of water mains and sheared-off fire hydrants.”
Olive Mill Road and the Montecito Inn are just up the street from the Coral Casino, and it, too, was transformed by the mudslides.
In the images below, what looks to be a well-manicured street beforehand turns into a disheveled area covered in mud and scraps of driftwood.
The stop sign sits at an angle, the grass and greenery are nowhere to be seen and a “Road Closed” sign blocks a decorative road sign.