February 9, 1998 in Nation/World

Flash Floods Kill At Least 13; Hundreds Are Left Homeless

From Staff And Wire Reports

Heavy rainstorms sparked flash flooding in this border city on Sunday, killing at least 13 people and forcing hundreds from their homes here and in nearby towns.

The flooding comes days after a series of El Nino-powered storms blew drenching rain through Northern California.

The death toll rose as rescue workers cleared mud and searched Sunday for bodies in standing water, said Amado Gallardo of the state Forensic Medical Service in Tijuana, where the bodies were being held.

The unusual storm dumped extremely heavy rain in the early morning hours before skies cleared.

The victims included three young women aged 13 to 15, according to state public safety officer Rodolfo Venegas.

“Some of the victims were carried away by floodwaters and some died trapped in their vehicles” on Tijuana roads, Venegas said.

Police estimated that between 5,000 and 8,000 residents had been forced from their homes by the flooding, and more than 300 homes were either damaged or destroyed.

Some Tijuana residents struggled to rescue their possessions and clean out their homes, while about 400 people took refuge at six emergency shelters set up in public buildings in Tijuana.

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