A huge mudslide (search) crashed down on homes in a coastal hamlet of storm-battered Southern California, killing one person and damaging at least 15 homes, authorities said.

A four-block area of homes in tiny La Conchita (search) were affected, said Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Tom Kruschke. Numerous injuries were reported, he said.

La Conchita is a slip of a town pressed between a highway and a towering coastal bluff northwest of Los Angeles (search). Several houses were damaged there during powerful storms in the 1990s.

The hillside cascaded down as authorities were evacuating about 200 residents from near the unstable area. Search and rescue teams were dispatched to look for anyone who may have been buried.

Southern California has been swamped by extremely heavy rainfall since last week.