UPDATE 9:55 p.m. EDT: The Los Angeles Times reported Interstate 10 shut down in both directions east of Joshua Tree National Park because rain washed out a bridge in Desert Center. Thirty feet of roadway was washed away on the eastbound side, the California Highway Patrol said.
Vast swathes of drought-stricken California received record rainfall this weekend as the weakening Tropical Storm Dolores rolled up the West Coast, local authorities said Sunday. The heavy rains, a rarity for California in July, raised hopes for relief in water-deprived areas and helped stem the wildfires that raged along Interstate 15, but also caused flooding and mudslides.
Aided by the unexpected rainfall, firefighters by Sunday night had contained about 60 percent of the wildfire that destroyed 20 vehicles on the highway outside Los Angeles, the Associated Press reported. The wildfire left two people with minor injuries and damaged several homes in nearby Baldy Mesa.
At least 11 locations in Southern California registered rainfall records on Saturday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Sirard told the Associated Press. Specifically, downtown Los Angeles recorded 0.36 inches Saturday, the most the area received on a July day since a storm brought 0.24 inches of rainfall in July 1886. The unseasonal rain could give downtown L.A. a new monthly rainfall record.
“It looks like we’re probably going to get more rain downtown this evening,” Sirard said. “It looks like there’s a good chance the monthly record is going to go up. Really, this is super historic.”
Heavy rains and thunderstorms continued into Sunday night, with temperatures hovering between 80 and 90 degrees throughout the day. The National Weather Service said more thunderstorms and possibly hail in some areas were expected Monday, KTLA reported.
The storms caused mudslides in some areas, with some stretches of Interstate 15 rendered impassable, KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported. About six homes in Moreno Valley experienced flood damage, and a motorist in Desert Center had to be rescued after a bridge collapsed on a stretch of Interstate 10, KMIR reported.
The weather also caused rough waters off Los Angeles County beaches and briefly left more than 10,000 people without power on Saturday. Flash flood warnings remained in effect for Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties until late Sunday.