A vehicle proceeds slowly through water covering a road following a downpour in northwest Moreno Valley, Calif, on 19 July 2015. Photo: John Bender / The Press-Enterprise via AP

By Lindsey Bever
20 July 2015

(Washington Post) – Amid California’s historic drought, an even rarer weekend downpour that calmed wildfires also washed away a 30-foot bridge that carries commuters to Arizona.

An elevated area on Interstate 10 collapsed early Sunday evening near Southeastern California’s Desert Center, leaving a pickup truck trapped underneath. Firefighters launched a cut and rescue operation and the driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, authorities told the Associated Press. California Highway Patrol have since stopped eastbound traffic near Joshua Tree National Park, a roadway from Palm Springs to the Arizona border.

Drivers were stranded for miles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We are so stuck out here,” 53-year-old commuter Pamala Browne told the AP Sunday evening. “There’s no end to the cars that are stuck out here.”

The two-day rainstorm in southern and central California brought flash floods, thunder and lightning along the state’s drought-stricken breaches, forcing authorities to close a 70-mile stretch over the weekend.

Beachgoers were warned about strong surf and rip currents and swimmers were urged to steer clear of storm drainage flowing in the sea. […]

The rainfall broke records in at least 11 areas, including Los Angeles and San Diego, for July, which is typically considered Southern California’s driest month.

“It looks like there’s a good chance the monthly record is going to go up,” National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sirard said. “Really, this is super historic.”

On Saturday, Los Angeles, for instance, got 0.36 inches of rain, which beat its record on July 14, 1886, when it got 0.24 inches, Sirard told the Associated Press. [more]

Drought-stricken California is burning, flooding at the same time

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