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Death Toll From Santa Barbara County Flooding Stands At 17; Number Of Missing Drops To Eight

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
A home in the East Valley Road area, near Montecito Creek, gutted by Tuesday's flooding

Officials say Thursday morning that the death toll from this week's major storm stands at 17 in Santa Barbara County, but that the number of people still considered to be missing is now down to eight.

Search and rescue efforts on Wednesday led to the rescue of three additional people, as well as the recovery of two bodies.  As of Wednesday night, officials say the nearly 500 people involved in search efforts had gone through about 75% of the 50 plus homes destroyed, and nearly 450 damaged in their hunt for more survivors.

Officials initially had a hard time gauging the scope of how many were missing because it was unknown how many people were in some homes, and who might have escaped from damaged structures before rescuers reached the scene.  The number of people still considered missing dropped by a third from Wednesday to Thursday.

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