NEEDLES, Calif. (AP) – Thunderstorms in the Southern California desert dropped several inches of rain Sunday, causing flash floods that stranded vehicles on roadways.
The California Highway Patrol shut the Interstate 40 and U.S. 95 interchange in Needles, near the Arizona border, after thick mud stranded several dozen vehicles. Roadway flooding was also reported in several locations in the Coachella Valley, and in one instance a roadway in Barstow was washed out, the CHP said.
Monsoonal moisture from Tropical Storm Ivo dumped heavy rain in inland mountain and desert areas, the National Weather Service said. More than 2 inches of rain fell on La Quinta, while the Borrego Springs area in eastern San Diego county saw 3.36 inches of rain.
“The rain came down real quick. We got these totals in about an hour or less,” said weather service meteorologist Brett Albright in San Diego.
The desert soil doesn’t absorb water rapidly, so the heavy rain causes flooding and debris flow in recently burned areas.