But in the beginning, in cold rain and hours of cold, slimy mud, dead animals, traumatized residents, stood those young women reporters telling us what we didn't want to see or hear.
Oprah Winfrey, who just days ago won the praise of Hollywood with a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, is now being directly affected by the damage. "I tried to get out every single way and there was no way out".
While the Thomas fire burned in the hills, Gower and her boyfriend - a part-owner of an Italian restaurant - sat and watched the flames, sharing a pizza with the firefighters.
Both live in Santa Barbara county, where flooding and mudslides due to rainfall have killed at least 17 people. "You have to start accepting the reality of that". He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.
Jonathan Benitez was 10 years old.
Sawyer Corey was 12 years old.
At the beginning of the clip, Farrell is seen yelling at a auto driving up the street, telling the driver turn around because the flash flood is right in front of them.
Forty-three people were missing, but many or majority may simply have been unreachable to the family and friends who reported they couldn't find them, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. "The Sheriff's Office wants to express our heartfelt sadness to the family and friends of those who lost their loved ones", the agency said in a statement.
The damage above Montecito isn't absolute. Troy said her cottage was probably ok, but at least three of her family's cars were flooded, filled with debris or carried away - and likely some combination of all three.
Rescuers have searched frantically for the missing after rivers of mud and boulders floodedthrough neighborhoods in and nearMontecito, an affluent seaside community east of Santa Barbara, demolishing homes and leaving roads impassable.
With the help of highly trained search dogs, these teams are walking in knee high mud and trying to avoid the many dangers that hide below.
A few streets away, Abbe and Gary Shaw counted their blessings.
Stranded drivers caught up in the rising water levels were being plucked from their vehicles to safer, dryer ground by emergency personnel relying on mostly aviation transportation. Like many, the couple described hearing explosions during the slide as gas lines ruptured and exploded. In an interview with TV station KCAL, Farrell said he regrets ignoring the evacuation order.
There, they called 911 and waited six long and exhausting hours while talking to a dispatcher on the phone. While they count Oprah and Ellen as neighbors, they lamented the losses suffered by those who can ill afford it.
During the wildfires last month, Farell looked over the house while his parents evacuated. He and his parents put belongings in three cars in case they made a decision to leave before the storm. The two had traveled to Italy for five weeks with Josie's children a year ago. "What would we have done with the animals?"
Numerous deaths and injuries occurred at locations that were not under mandatory evacuation for flooding, but weeks earlier, said areas were evacuated during a series of fires. So again, we evacuated because they feared mudslides. "It just exhausts the crews out there", Sacramento Fire Department Captain Pat Costamagna said.
Interjected her husband with a smile: "And if it gets bad, we've got all those chickens".