Cathedral City in chaos: Incredible photos show residents being rescued as desert is turned into quicksand and completely cut off by mud
Dramatic new photos show the devastation in California’s Coachella Valley as Cathedral City reels from record-breaking rain brought on by Tropical Storm Hilary.
On Monday, residents of a residential care home were photographed being rescued by JCB machines, leaving many roads impassable.
Ryan Hunt, a spokesman for the city, said about a dozen people have been moved from the retirement home.
All of the people who are rescued are “doing well,” Hunt told CNN on Monday.
Mudslides had cut off the desert city, which is not accustomed to such rainfall.
The Cathedral City Fire Department rescues residents of a retirement home on Monday
About a dozen people were evacuated from the facility, the Cathedral City manager said
The elderly residents were evacuated by JCB machines from the desert city
Cathedral City is not used to flash floods and mudslides, but no fatalities have been reported
A resident of the retirement home will be carried out of the house on Monday
Parts of Cathedral City experienced “debris flow” from a “large amount of mud and sand” poured into the area by Hilary, fire chief Michael Contreras said earlier Monday.
He said rescue teams helped seven people trapped by the rubble.
Hilary arrived in California as a rare tropical storm that dumped six inches of rain on coastal areas and 10 inches or more in the mountains, said National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Thompson.
He said it was the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California since Sept. 25, 1939.
No deaths or significant injuries have been reported in the United States, but one man was killed in Mexico when his family was dragged while crossing a stream on Saturday, 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 city.
He said the bottom floor of his home was flooded shortly after midnight on Sunday.
“The roof was our best choice for shelter. Five of us with a two and a half year old baby,” Mendiola said.
“And we got to safety because a Good Samaritan came by and picked us up. All five from the roof.’
Cars are stuck in mud in Cathedral City, in the Coachella Valley
Stones and mud cover a damaged street after heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hilary in Cathedral City
A road near Cathedral City is pictured Monday after it was washed away by the floodwaters
In the city of 52,000, people raked debris Monday and assessed the damage after water rose to thighs in some areas.
“Who has flood insurance in a desert?” said Nancy Ross, a resident of the Canyon Mobile Home in Cathedral City, where several homes suffered flood damage.
Ross said she was “very worried” during the storm.
“It flowed like a river,” she said.
Parts of Southern California were mopping up and assessing the damage on Monday.
In parts of San Diego County, they fell in one day with a year’s worth of rain.
An aerial photo Monday shows Interstate 10 closed due to flooding and mud crossing the highway
A truck got stuck in mud in Kern County, California, on Monday
Rescuers clear the roads in Crestline, California
Emergency workers repair a power line that was damaged by a falling tree on Monday
A child takes full advantage of flooding Monday in Palmdale, California
A fallen tree lies over two cars after Tropical Storm Hilary in Sun Valley, California
Los Angeles emergency services received 4,100 calls, said Kristin Crowley, chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“This represents more than 1,000 more emergency calls than our normal average,” she said.
“Fortunately, we have not yet received any reports of significant injuries or damage related to the storm.”
As city leaders celebrate dodging what they called a “weather bomb,” they will reassess their decisions on what can be done better for when the next storm hits.
“The fact that it wasn’t a catastrophe that was foreseen, we’re very happy about that, but if it was, I have complete confidence that our city, our city family, was prepared to respond,” said Mayor Karen Bass.
Classes were canceled in public schools across the LA area.
Southern California got another surprise in the afternoon when a preliminary magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck near Ojai, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It was widely felt and was followed by smaller aftershocks. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injury.