Homes knocked off foundation due to heavy El Nino storm

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In Sonoma County's Rio Nido, Mae Shultz and her mother escaped in the dark. But now by light of day they begged authorities to let them see if the mud had claimed their home.

"We watched out neighbor's house across the street just slide down," said Mae. "We heard the rumbling across the street and just everything coming down; just trees coming down and bringing houses with them."

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A tearful Mae pleaded with authorities to let her in.

"I won't get in the way," she said. "I just want to see my house."

Muddy waters running off of these saturated canyon walls forced a mountain of earth 120 yards wide to collapse and consume homes below, knocking six off their foundations.

"Just in the last hour it's probably moved another 30 feet," said CDF Battalion Chief Mike Velasquez. "There's another boulder that's probably 500 or 600 pounds that's moved over 100 yards."

The mudslide cut off the storm drains and diverted a lot of the runoff from the hillside, turning what was a street into a raging river of mud.

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Heavy equipment brought in sandbags and barricades as the rushing waters undermined the foundations of dozens of other homes.

Residents nervously watched video tape of the mudslide praying they would catch a glimpse of their house.

"Our lives are in that house and our memories are in there and it's like, we understand material possessions aren't important," said Mae. "But they so much are because that's our life and that's everything that we've ever gotten. Our vacations, our memories, and those are things that can't be replaced. And I'm just praying to God they're okay."

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