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USA: California Flooding, Mudslides Leave 13 Dead

10/01/2018
USA: California Flooding, Mudslides Leave 13 Dead

USA: California Flooding, Mudslides Leave 13 Dead

Powerful rainstorm and flash floods have claimed the lives of at least 13 people in Southern California and forced thousands of people to flee from their homes.
Police said on Tuesday that the bodies had been found in mud and debris during rescue operations in Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles.
Thousands of residents in Santa Barbara County along the Pacific coast north of Los Angeles had been ordered to evacuate before heavy downpours struck, according to police reports. But only 10 to 15 percent followed mandatory orders.
"We are saddened to report that this incident so far has resulted in 13 confirmed fatalities, as result of the storm that came through our area last night," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told a news conference, warning that he expected the death toll to increase.
The mudslide toppled trees and demolished cars and covered blocks of quiet residential neighborhoods with a thick layer of mud, according to Brown.
"The best way I can describe it is it looked like a World War One battlefield,” he said.
The threat of mudslides prompted the county to order 7,000 residents to leave their homes before the rains came and to call on 23,000 others to evacuate voluntarily, officials reported.
Authorities said search dogs and helicopters were being used to look for victims as more than 20 people had been reported missing.
Pictures posted by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department showed rivers of waist-high mud flowing through neighborhoods and roads rendered impassable by fallen trees.
While the rain appeared to have subsided, forecasters warned later in the day that more showers and isolated thunderstorms were expected to come, with periods of very heavy rain.
The Tuesday storm came after a 10-month dry spell in the area following torrential rains in January and February of last year. Last month's wildfires burned away grass and shrubs that hold the soil in place, leaving the area vulnerable to mudslides.