Heavy rains unleashed destructive rivers of mud and debris in Southern California on Tuesday leaving at least 13 people dead, destroying homes and spurring rescues as the flooding forced heavily traveled roads to close, APA reportrs quoting CNN.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the death toll could rise. Officials said many of the deaths are believed to be in the coastal Montecito area, where mudflows and floodwater have inundated areas downstream from where the Thomas Fire burned thousands of acres last month.
Authorities continued to search for the missing. Earlier, fire crews rescued about 50 people in the Montecito area, officials said.
The destruction "looked like a World War I battlefield," Brown said.
Six homes near Montecito were "wiped away from their foundations" by mudflow and debris, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said.
Heavy rain fell in areas charred by recent wildfires, triggering warnings of flash flooding and mudslides because vegetation that otherwise would hold hills together and make the terrain flood-resistant has burned away.