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More rain expected next week, first responders urge valley drivers to prepare for hazardous conditions

Gloomy skies and rain fell over parts of the valley on Thursday. Drivers are urged to slow down during these conditions. The News Channel 3 weather team says an even bigger storm system is moving in next week. 

Flash flooding is something our first responders want valley residents to be prepared for. 

“We give the same warning every year…please do not drive around the barricades,” said  Captain Nathan Gunkel, Palm Springs Fire Dept. 

With slick and hazardous conditions, Captain Gunkel says drivers need to be aware of road closures. 

“It may look like an inch or two of water going across the roadway…but what they don’t understand is the roadway is completely gone underneath and there’s a five foot drop,” he said. 

Other flood-prone areas include Indian Canyon, Gene Autry, Vista Chino and certain exits of of highway 86. Authorities say when it rains, it only takes a few inches to lose control of your car. 

Captain Gunkel with Palm Springs fire says the department is on high alert on rainy days and they’ve seen it all: “Vehicles flipping upside or just getting stuck in the middle of the wash and having to get out and stand on top of their vehicle and wait for rescuers.” 

That’s exactly what happened back in 2019 during this record-breaking storm. 

Gunkel showed News Channel 3’s Madison Weil the equipment they use for swift water rescues: “This is a specialized boat that’s made just for that.” 

Each boat has gear on board for first responders and those they’re rescuing.  

“We have our helmets, paddles, all our vests,” he said.  

First responders say the best practices are to simply slow down and most importantly, respect road closures during wet weather. 

“The barricades are there for a reason. You will risk your life and the life of others. The people in your vehicle and the rescuers coming out to save you,” added Captain Gunkel.

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Madison Weil

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