Parts of the Morongo Basin experienced intense rain storms and severe flash flooding yesterday afternoon, while other parts remained dry without a drop of rain. A National Weather service trained spotter reported parts of Twentynine Palms received 2 ½ inches of rain in less than one hour, while other parts stayed dry. From 2:30 to 3:00, so much rain fell between Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms that Highway 62 became a raging torrent. The California Highway Patrol shut down the highway for about 30 minutes at Mesquite Springs Road as run-off, two to three feet deep, flowed down the highway across Mesquite Springs Road. In downtown Twentynine Palms, water flowed curb to curb on Adobe Road. In Joshua Tree, El Reposo, north of the highway, flooded at the wash, and one car stalled as it tried to drive through the water. Fire Captain Jay Dimoff said water levels on roads dropped to navigable levels about 10 minutes after the rain stopped. Firefighters urge residents to not try and cross flooded areas; none of the fire departments reported being called out on any water-related calls. A video of the Twentynine Palms flooding is posted on our home page.
Pinto Basin Road through Joshua Tree National Park will be partially re-opened next week. The park service closed the road and the Cottonwood campground after Sunday’s storm, after the road had washed out from flash flooding. Debris, sand, rocks, and boulders remain in the road. Clean-up crews are working to re-open the road and Cottonwood campgrounds before September 9, when it’s expected that Pinto Basin Road between Route 12 and the Ocotillo Patch will reopen.