A man in Montecito, southern California, has captured a video of the dramatic moment a flash flood swept through the street outside his home, as he shouted at a motorist to drive away to safety.
Marco Farrell, recorded the deluge of brown, muddy water come crashing past his home, dragging debris from destroyed houses and cars with it.
At the beginning of the clip, the 45-year-old is seen yelling at the driver of a car going up the street to turn around because a flash flood was coming down the hill.
Mr Farrell then runs inside – and not a moment too soon. In the video, mud and water can be seen filling the bottom floor of the house Mr Farrell shares with his elderly parents, Gabrielle and Jeff.
At least 17 people have been killed in the mudslides which have hit the area just weeks after it faced the worst forest fires in Californian history.
Rescuers frantically combed the mountains of mud, wreckage and boulders which landed on top of the affluent seaside community on Wednesday.
The Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health department, Susan Klein-Rothschild, said the mudslides have destroyed at least 65 homes and damaged another 462 other residences in the town.
A further eight commercial buildings were destroyed while 20 others were damaged.
Santa Barbara County said at least eight people are still thought to be missing following the disaster.
They revised the figure down from 48 which they said they initially reported due to a clerical error.
California mudslides: in pictures
Mr Farrell said he and his family were able to escape injury by hunkering down in a hallway at the back of the house and standing in thigh-high mud for more than an hour before they were rescued.
Their three-legged dog Lucas also survived after the family propped him up on an empty TV box.
Mr Farrell told ABC News 7: “The scariest thing was the sound. It sounded like the scariest monster you ever heard, banging on your door.”
He said he regretted not forcing his elderly parents to evacuate. They had fled following the devastating forest fires last month but this time Mr Farrell Snr, an 81-year-old two time Olympic gold medallist, decided he did not want to leave.
His son said: “There was evacuation fatigue from the fire. I would have preferred for them to leave and in hindsight we should have left. I don’t know how I got lulled.”