UPDATE | California mudslides death toll rises to 19

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The death toll from the mudslides in a California coastal town rose to 19 today, but a man who had also been on the list of missing persons was located alive, authorities said.

The body of Morgan Christine Corey, 25, was found in mud and debris in Montecito, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. Her 12-year-old sister, Sawyer, had been found dead earlier.

"We ask that you keep this devastated family in your thoughts and prayers," Brown said.

Another person who had been on the list of missing, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin, was found alive and well, Brown said without elaborating on the circumstances.

The two developments reduced the number of missing from seven to five.

"While every hour it remains less likely that we will find anyone alive, there is always hope," the sheriff said.

The army of searchers and recovery workers in Montecito swelled to more than 2,000 five days after a powerful storm swept in from the Pacific and dumped a deluge on mountain slopes above the coastal enclave that were burned bare by a huge wildfire in December.

The backbreaking work went on in the summerlike weather that has made the stretch of Santa Barbara County coast about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles a haven for the wealthy, celebrities and tourists.

5:35 p.m.

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — Crews dug away at masses of mud, boulders and debris with earth-moving machines and shovels today in a California town ravaged by mudslides, hoping to find seven people still missing in a disaster that has already claimed at least 18 lives.

The army of searchers and recovery workers in Montecito swelled to more than 2,000 five days after a powerful storm swept in from the Pacific and dumped a deluge on mountain slopes above the coastal enclave that were burned bare by a huge wildfire in December.

The backbreaking work went on under the sunny skies that have made the stretch of Santa Barbara County coast about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles a haven for the wealthy, celebrities and tourists drawn to its scenery and casual vibe.

"We have to do whatever it takes," said Capt. Tom Henzgen, leader of a team from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Long-range forecasts gave the crews about a week before the next chance of rain – and potential new mudslides – although the precipitation expected next Friday was expected to be disorganized and light. Another system was possible two days later.

Much of the community of about 9,000 remained under mandatory evacuation orders, even unscathed areas, as crews both removed debris and worked to restore water, sanitation, power and gas. All warnings and orders for neighboring Summerland and Carpinteria were lifted.

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