The mountains shook and the heavens opened up Saturday morning. It may not be the time to build your own ark, but some folks in Twentynine Palms may have thought so. Reporter Dan Stork describes what happened…
First it was an earthquake that rattled the desert. A magnitude 4.6 quake, about 5 miles west of Big Bear, was felt as far away as Palm Desert at 9:59 a.m. Saturday morning. Then shortly after 11 a.m., it started raining in Twentynine Palms. Hard. For about 45 minutes. Some residents even reported hail. The rain and subsequent flash flooding resulted in multiple swift-water rescues by the Twentynine Palms Fire Department.
Fire Engineer Lee Martin said several drivers had to be rescued after they drove into water flowing across the road on Adobe and Bagley. Winds and flash flooding also toppled at least 14 power poles in Twentynine Palms, leaving an estimated 2000 homes and businesses without power for hours in the city. Some areas of 29 Palms reported receiving 1.28 inches of rain. A portion of Larrea Road, north of the highway, was washed out from the flooding, and Martin said numerous streets turned into little rivers, including Highway 62 east of Copper Mountain College, and at Mesquite Springs Road, leaving behind mud and debris. Lee reminds residents not to try and cross roads that have water flowing across them because you never know how deep the water is. Even a couple of inches of water is enough to carry off some vehicles. “Turn around, don’t drown.”