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(CNN)The founder of a Catholic school is among the 17 people killed in deadly mudslides and flooding in Southern California. Hundreds of rescuers and dogs continued searching for people Wednesday, slogging through mud and debris.

Roy Rohter, 84, and his wife, Theresa, were swept from their Montecito home, the headmaster said. Theresa was rescued, said Michael Van Hecke, headmaster of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, which Rohter founded in 1994.

Authorities have not confirmed the names of the dead. Children are among the victims, said Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason.

Heavy rains early Tuesday caused rivers of mud and debris to run down from hillsides in Santa Barbara County, demolishing homes in the affluent seaside community of Montecito weeks after wildfires in the area. Many people are on edge, awaiting news about missing loved ones.

Before and after images of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

GOOGLE EARTH/WALLY SKALIJ/LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

Latest developments

• Deadly storm: The 17 deaths were reported in Santa Barbara County, authorities said.

• More missing: Officials said 17 people were unaccounted for.

• Rescue operation: More than 500 first responders and 10 dogs continued to search for people in Santa Barbara County.

• Trapped residents evacuated: First responders used a helicopter to rescue some of 300 residents trapped by debris blocking their way out of Montecito's Romero Canyon area, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. Some residents wanted to stay in their homes, Brown said.

• Hundreds of calls: As the storm hit hard between 3 and 6 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff's office dispatchers handled more than 600 phone calls for assistance, Brown said.

• Rescues: Dozens of people have been rescued in Santa Barbara County, officials said. The US Coast Guard said it used helicopters Tuesday to collect people from rooftops, including a couple and their three children in Carpinteria.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew pulls a person onto a roof after mud overtook a house in Carpinteria.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew pulls a person onto a roof after mud overtook a house in Carpinteria.

• Injured: Twenty-eight people were hurt in Santa Barbara County, officials said.

• Destruction: Floodwaters and mudslides destroyed 100 homes and damaged another 300 residences in Santa Barbara County.

• Road closed: US 101 in parts of Montecito and Santa Barbara will remain closed for at least 48 hours because of the muddy debris covering it, authorities said Tuesday.

A firefighter clears debris in Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A firefighter clears debris in Los Angeles on January 9.

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A van is stuck in the mud in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A van is stuck in the mud in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

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A police vehicle drives across a flooded side road in Montecito, near the San Ysidro exit of Highway 101 on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A police vehicle drives across a flooded side road in Montecito, near the San Ysidro exit of Highway 101 on January 9.

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Mud covers a road in Burbank on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud covers a road in Burbank on January 9.

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Los Angeles firefighters work amid floodwaters and mud on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Los Angeles firefighters work amid floodwaters and mud on January 9.

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A member of the Long Beach search and rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A member of the Long Beach search and rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito on January 9.

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Mud washes away personal belongings in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud washes away personal belongings in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

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Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles River near downtown Los Angeles.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles River near downtown Los Angeles.

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A damaged home is seen in Montecito, California, on Wednesday, January 10. Heavy rains unleashed deadly mudslides Tuesday that damaged or swept away dozens of homes in Southern California.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A damaged home is seen in Montecito, California, on Wednesday, January 10. Heavy rains unleashed deadly mudslides Tuesday that damaged or swept away dozens of homes in Southern California.

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Part of a structure sits in a tree after being knocked off its foundation by the Montecito mudslide on January 10.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Part of a structure sits in a tree after being knocked off its foundation by the Montecito mudslide on January 10.

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Kerry Mann navigates the large boulders and mudflow that destroyed her friend's home in Montecito.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Kerry Mann navigates the large boulders and mudflow that destroyed her friend's home in Montecito.

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A view of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A view of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

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Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek in Montecito on Tuesday, January  9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek in Montecito on Tuesday, January 9.

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Mud fills the interior of a destroyed car in Burbank on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud fills the interior of a destroyed car in Burbank on January 9.

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Runoff water from a creek floods Highway 101 in Montecito on January 9. Flooding forced many heavily traveled roads to close.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Runoff water from a creek floods Highway 101 in Montecito on January 9. Flooding forced many heavily traveled roads to close.

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Reilly, a search dog with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, looks for victims in Montecito on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Reilly, a search dog with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, looks for victims in Montecito on January 9.

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A firefighter clears debris in Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A firefighter clears debris in Los Angeles on January 9.

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A van is stuck in the mud in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A van is stuck in the mud in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

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A police vehicle drives across a flooded side road in Montecito, near the San Ysidro exit of Highway 101 on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A police vehicle drives across a flooded side road in Montecito, near the San Ysidro exit of Highway 101 on January 9.

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Mud covers a road in Burbank on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud covers a road in Burbank on January 9.

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Los Angeles firefighters work amid floodwaters and mud on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Los Angeles firefighters work amid floodwaters and mud on January 9.

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A member of the Long Beach search and rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A member of the Long Beach search and rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito on January 9.

Hide Caption

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Mud washes away personal belongings in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud washes away personal belongings in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 9.

Hide Caption

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Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles River near downtown Los Angeles.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles River near downtown Los Angeles.

Hide Caption

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A damaged home is seen in Montecito, California, on Wednesday, January 10. Heavy rains unleashed deadly mudslides Tuesday that damaged or swept away dozens of homes in Southern California.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A damaged home is seen in Montecito, California, on Wednesday, January 10. Heavy rains unleashed deadly mudslides Tuesday that damaged or swept away dozens of homes in Southern California.

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Part of a structure sits in a tree after being knocked off its foundation by the Montecito mudslide on January 10.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Part of a structure sits in a tree after being knocked off its foundation by the Montecito mudslide on January 10.

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Kerry Mann navigates the large boulders and mudflow that destroyed her friend's home in Montecito.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Kerry Mann navigates the large boulders and mudflow that destroyed her friend's home in Montecito.

Hide Caption

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A view of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

A view of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

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Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek in Montecito on Tuesday, January  9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek in Montecito on Tuesday, January 9.

Hide Caption

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Mud fills the interior of a destroyed car in Burbank on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Mud fills the interior of a destroyed car in Burbank on January 9.

Hide Caption

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Runoff water from a creek floods Highway 101 in Montecito on January 9. Flooding forced many heavily traveled roads to close.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Runoff water from a creek floods Highway 101 in Montecito on January 9. Flooding forced many heavily traveled roads to close.

Hide Caption

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Reilly, a search dog with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, looks for victims in Montecito on January 9.

Photos: Deadly mudslides in Southern California

Reilly, a search dog with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, looks for victims in Montecito on January 9.

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'I just want to find my friend'

In Montecito, east of Santa Barbara, home after home is damaged or encircled by mounds of mud, furniture and fallen trees.

Diane Brewer has hopes of finding her missing friend Josie Gower, 69. Gower was at home with her boyfriend early Tuesday when a mudslide swept through the neighborhood.

Mud fillls a street Tuesday in Burbank, California, destroying cars and damaging property.

Mud fillls a street Tuesday in Burbank, California, destroying cars and damaging property.

"For some reason, she opened the front door" and was swept away, Brewer said.

The boyfriend also was carried away and became stuck between boulders before being rescued, Brewer said.

Debris surrounds a house Wednesday in Montecito, California.

Debris surrounds a house Wednesday in Montecito, California.

Brewer and others planned to search the property.

"I just want to find my friend," Brewer said, in tears.

Hours later, Brewer confirmed Gower's death.

"Josie grew up right around the corner from me; she was 15, I was 5," Brewer said.

She added: "It was always a full a life with Josie. Now, it's just a hole."

The missing

Family members waited for word about their missing loved ones. Many turned to social media in their search.

James and Alice Mitchell, an elderly couple from Montecito, are among those missing, the couple's granddaughter, Sarah Weimer, told CNN Wednesday. Weimer said her mother was in Montecito helping with the search.

Rebecca Riskin, the founding partner of Riskin Partners, a Montecito real estate company, is also missing, a relative, Lynne Creighton said.

Riskin began selling real estate in Los Angeles. In 1990, she moved to Montecito, where she climbed to the top of real estate industry, according to the biography on her firm's website.

'River of mud'

Thomas Tighe was outside his Montecito home when he heard "a deep rumbling, an ominous sound I knew was ... boulders moving as the mud was rising," he told CNN affiliate KCAL.

He saw two cars moving sideways down the middle of the street "in a river of mud."

Peter Hartmann said the destruction was everywhere.

"There were gas mains that had popped, where you could hear the hissing," he told the TV station.

"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."

These images show the mudslide devastation in California

These images show the mudslide devastation in California

Before the storm hit, Santa Barbara issued mandatory evacuations for 7,000 people, including in parts of Carpinteria, Montecito and Goleta, which are below areas scorched by wildfires, county spokeswoman Gina DePinto said.

"While some residents cooperated with the evacuations, many did not. Many chose to stay in place," said Brown, the sheriff.

Sheriff deputies spent Monday conducting door-to-door evacuations for 7,000 people in a mandatory evacuation area. But the area where homes were destroyed, south of Highway 192, was not in a mandatory evacuation zone.

News Courtesy: www.cnn.com

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