TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -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.