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California Mudslides

THE AFTERMATH Firefighter Alex Jimenez stands knee-deep in mud in Montecito, California, on January 10. WALLY SKALIJ­—LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

Mudslides and flash floods destroyed parts of Montecito, California, last week. At press time, the natural disaster had caused at least 20 deaths.

The mudslides were caused by a powerful storm. It sent mud and boulders boulder CHRIS CHEADLE/GETTY IMAGES a large rock (noun) The boulder on the road forced us to find a different route. down hills and into nearby communities. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. Some streets were cracked. Authorities closed highways and bridges.

Recovery crews continue to dig away mud, boulders, and toppled trees. Crews are also clearing out waterways. These include creeks and canals. The hope is to prevent another disaster when the next rainstorm hits.

“If we don’t get those debris debris THOMAS LIM/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES pieces left after something has been destroyed (noun) The hurricane left debris all over the city. basins basin CITIZENS OF THE PLANET/UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES a bowl; a depression in the ground, like a riverbed or an area designed to catch the overflow from a flood (noun) Debris basins are important parts of a flood control system. cleaned out, then we’re not going to be prepared for the next storm,” said Robert Lewin. He is Santa Barbara County’s emergency management director.