California was hit this week with a massive atmospheric river, with the state bracing for potential mudslides and flooding. By Thursday, multiple counties were reporting record rainfall amid chaotic road closures and unprecedented flash floods.
A highway in Riverside County outside of Los Angeles was completely eroded by flooding in staggering footage shared by the California Department of Transportation on Thursday. As of early Friday morning, road closures were still in effect throughout the region, and authorities cautioned drivers against attempting to drive through flooded areas.
Palm Springs also saw significant flooding, with the Palm Springs Desert Sun reporting that several people needed to be rescued after floodwaters left them stranded. According to the National Weather Service San Diego, Palm Springs was walloped by its third all-time rainfall in a 24-hour period and its wettest Valentine’s Day on record.
San Diego reported record moisture in the atmosphere, according to the National Weather Service, and San Diego’s Palomar Observatory was hit with a historic 10 inches of downpour for its rainiest day since it began keeping a record. Road closures were reported throughout the area as the result of fallen trees and debris as well as other issues related to the storm.
Up north, a mudslide in Sausalito resulted in one home sliding down a hill and smashing into another house, the Associated Press reported, and more than four dozen properties needed to be evacuated as a result of the storm.
During the incident, a woman was reportedly buried under mud and debris for two hours while a rescue crew worked to free her. According to the Los Angeles Times, rescuers found her after noticing her hand poking out from under part of the wreckage.
“Surprisingly, she was in great condition,” Southern Marin Fire District Captain Doug Paterson told the Los Angeles Times. “She was talking to us. She was alert. She was able to tell us exactly what had happened.”
In neighboring San Francisco, the torrential downpour resulted in the cancellation or delay of hundreds of flights. According to the National Weather Service Bay Area, several flood warnings and advisories remained in effect as of early Friday morning.