California floodwaters washed away an elevated stretch of interstate highway
An elevated section of California’s Interstate 10 collapsed amid heavy rain in a remote desert region on Sunday, leaving one driver injured, stranding many more and preventing thousands from traveling by cutting off the main corridor in both directions between Southern California and Arizona.
A bridge for eastbound traffic about 5 meters above a normally dry washout about 86 miles west of the Arizona border gave way and ended up in flood waters ci below, said the California Highway Patrol, blocking all traffic to Arizona.
The westbound section of the freeway near the small town of Desert Center remained intact, but traffic was halted while it was inspected for safety reasons, and two small freeways nearby that could potentially serve as a detours were also closed.
No time was given for reopening the westbound side or repairing the eastbound side.
That means those looking to travel between California and Arizona late Sunday or early Monday would be forced to travel hundreds of miles to reach Interstate 8 south or Interstate 40 north.
“A dire situation”
A driver had to be rescued from a van that crashed into the collapse and was taken to hospital with moderate injuries, the Riverside County Fire Department said. A passenger in the truck was able to exit unaided and was not injured.
“The 10th is a dire situation,” California transportation spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Pamala Browne, 53, and her daughter were driving from Flagstaff, Ariz. To Palm Desert, Calif., When they got stranded when the westbound lanes were closed.
“Oh my God, we’re so stuck here,” Browne told the Desert Sun newspaper. “There is no end to the cars that are stuck here.”
The rains came in the middle of a second day of showers and thunderstorms in southern and central California that set a record for precipitation in a generally dry month.
Rain fell on Sunday afternoon in parts of the mountains of Los Angeles County, the valley to the north and interior urban areas to the east. The city is also expected to see a late repeat of Saturday’s scattered showers and occasional downpours as the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores brought warm and humid conditions to the north.
Showers forced the Los Angeles Angels ‘first rain in 20 years and the San Diego Padres’ first rain since 2006.
Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five locations that had the most rain on record on a July day.
July is generally the driest month of the year in Southern California. Because of this, Saturday’s centimeter of rain in downtown Los Angeles surpassed the 0.6 centimeter recorded on July 14, 1886, which had been the wettest July day in nearly 130 years.
The record is particularly important because downtown Los Angeles has the longest recording health resort, dating back to July 1, 1877.
Saturday’s storm caused flash floods and power outages and turned Los Angeles County’s usually crowded coastline into empty stretches of sand when the threat of lightning forced authorities to close 130 kilometers of beaches.