The death toll from a massive debris flow that buried homes and cars under a torrent of mud and boulders has risen to 15 in Montecito, where local personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard are planning to continue rescue operations Wednesday morning.

About 300 people remained stuck in their homes in Montecito’s Romero Canyon neighborhood and throughout the debris field, where authorities planned to launch helicopter rescues at daybreak.

The mudslides began around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, when intense rains dislodged boulders and caused heavy mudflow along hillsides that were scarred by the sprawling Thomas fire late last year. A number of homes were ripped from their foundations, with some pulled more than a half-mile by water and mud before they broke apart.

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