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. College roof collapses as California pummeled by storm

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by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Dec 15, 2008
At least 10 people were injured after torrential rain caused a school roof to collapse as a winter storm pummeled parts of California on Monday, reports and officials said.

The accident occurred at a technical college in Anaheim south of Los Angeles after a blocked drain buckled under the weight of water. Television footage showed a large crater in the ceiling of the building.

Ten people were reported to have suffered "mild to moderate" injuries in the accident, reports said. Television reports showed victims on stretchers being wheeled into ambulances.

"The ceiling fell down, everyone was panicking and started running ... some people were trying to step on other people," student Cecilia Roman told local ABC7 television.

The incident came as parts of southern California was deluged by between 1.5 to 3 inches of rain and thick snow in mountainous regions.

The storm forced the evacuation of residents in areas hit by recent wildfires as rain soaked fire-denuded hillsides, officials said.

Orange County Fire Authority officials said a mandatory evacuation was now in place in several neighborhoods of Yorba Linda, southeast of Los Angeles, one of the worst-hit areas in November wildfires.

It was not immediately clear how many people were the subject of the evacuation orders.

Yorba Linda was hit by fires which erupted on November 15 and swept across the region, destroying or damaging over 300 residences and burning more than 30,000 acres (12,100 hectares) before being contained.

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Two die as rain, snowstorms sweep across Italy
Rome (AFP) Dec 11, 2008
Storms across Italy claimed two lives, caused massive disruption throughout the country and persuaded trade unionists to soften a planned nationwide strike, Italian media reported Thursday.

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