Dramatic new photos show the devastation in California’s Coachella Valley as Cathedral City reels from record-breaking rainfall from Tropical Storm Hilary.
Residents of an assisted living facility were pictured being rescued by JCB machines on Monday as many roads were impassable.
Ryan Hunt, a city spokesman, said about a dozen people were taken from the home for the aged.
All of those rescued are “doing well,” Hunt told CNN on Monday.
Mudslides had isolated the city from the desert, unaccustomed to such precipitation.
The Cathedral City Fire Department rescues residents of a senior living center on Monday
A dozen people were evacuated from the facility, the city manager of Cathedral City said.
Elderly residents were evacuated by JCB machines from the desert town
Cathedral City is unaccustomed to flash floods and mudslides, but no fatalities have been reported
A resident of the seniors’ residence is seen being dragged out of the house on Monday
Parts of Cathedral City experienced a “debris flow” of a “large amount of mud and sand” moving through the area due to Hilary, Fire Chief Michael Contreras said Monday.
He said rescue teams helped seven people who were trapped by the debris.
Hilary arrived in California as a rare tropical storm that dumped five inches of rain on coastal areas and 10 inches or more in the mountains, National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Thompson said.
He said it was the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California since September 25, 1939.
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the United States, but a man was killed in Mexico when his family was swept away on Saturday as he crossed a stream, Mexican officials said.
Ronald Mendiola, who lives in Cathedral City, said his family of five – including a two-year-old – took refuge on the roof of their home in the desert town.
He said the ground floor of his home was flooded waist-deep shortly after midnight on Sunday.
“The roof was our best bet for shelter. Five of us with a two-and-a-half-year-old baby,” Mendiola said.
“And we managed to get to safety thanks to a good Samaritan who passed by and picked us up. All five from the roof.
Cars are seen stuck in the mud in Cathedral City in the Coachella Valley
Rocks and mud cover a damaged street following heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hilary in Cathedral City
A road near Cathedral City is pictured on Monday after being washed away by floods
Residents across the city of 52,000 picked up debris and assessed the damage on Monday after water rose thigh high in some areas.
“Who has flood insurance in a desert?” said Nancy Ross, a resident of Canyon Mobile Home in Cathedral City, where several homes were damaged by flooding.
Ross said she was “really worried” during the storm.
“It flowed like a river,” she said.
Swathes of Southern California were cleaning up Monday and assessing the damage.
In parts of San Diego County, they received a year’s rainfall in a single day.
An aerial image shows Interstate 10 on Monday, closed due to flooding and mud crossing the freeway
A truck is seen stuck in mud in Kern County, California on Monday
Rescue workers are seen clearing the roads in Crestline, California
Utility workers repair a power line damaged by a falling tree on Monday
A child makes the most of flooding in Palmdale, California on Monday
A fallen tree lies over two cars in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hilary in Sun Valley, California
Emergency officials in Los Angeles received 4,100 calls, said Kristin Crowley, chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“That’s over 1,000 more emergency phone calls than our normal average,” she said.
“Fortunately, we have yet to receive any reports of any major injuries or damage related to the storm.”
As city leaders celebrate dodging what they call a “weather bomb,” they will be reassessing their decisions on what can best be done when the next storm hits.
“The fact that this was not a disaster that had been anticipated, we are very happy about that, but if it had been, I have full confidence that our city, our city family, was ready to respond. “said Mayor Karen Bass.
Classes have been canceled at public schools in the Los Angeles area.
Southern California got another surprise in the afternoon when an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 struck near Ojai, according to the US Geological Survey.
It was widely felt and was followed by small aftershocks. There were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.