Major California Mudslides Trap Motorists on Interstate
Tropical moisture brought in heavy downpours across southern California on Thursday afternoon and evening. In Lamont, California, just south of Bakersfield, more than 2 inches of rain fell. Areas southwest of Lancaster, California had 4-5 inches of rain within several hours.
Extreme rainfall rates falling on extremely dry surfaces, like the parched earth in drought-stricken California, is like rain on concrete, which causes the rain to rush. The massive amounts of water caused flooding and mudslides that closed down portions of Highway 58 and nearly 40 miles of Interstate 5. The stretch of Interstate 5 is referred to as the Grapevine, where up to 5 feet of mud and water rushed over the roadways. It left more than 100 people stranded in their vehicles. Another driver estimated nearly 200 drivers stranded on Highway 58.
The chances of rain will continue on Friday and some flash flood watches will remain in effect through Sunday.
Isolated rain totals could reach up to 2 to 3 inches by Sunday evening with locally higher amounts. With the serious drought conditions and burn scars scattered across the West, potential flooding and more mudslides will remain a concern.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Tracey Anthony
(Headline image: Nicholas Shrum)