More than a foot of water carrying branches, stumps and rocks rushed through Cherry Valley Tuesday afternoon, officials said, as burn scars in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties were pounded by more than an inch of rain.
Emergency responders warned about cars ignoring closures and trying to pass through rushing water – putting themselves at risk of being swept away by swift and powerful flooding.
"These mud flows and debris flows, there’s a lot of weight and a lot of force behind them," said San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Kyle Hauducoeur. "In these situations, what we tend to see is everything is ok until it’s not."
American Red Cross crews turned a high school into an evacuation center while some were forced to leave their homes for several hours and possibly through the night. It was expected to remain open through the night for anyone who couldn't access their homes as muddy roads were cleared.
Here in the valley, significantly lighter rainfall accumulations were recorded, but in Palm Springs flooding closed one lane on Vista China and fully shut down Indian Canyon Drive at the wash. There was no estimate when either would reopen.
Some valley residents found a silver lining though, swapping sunshine for storm clouds.
"I love when it rains here, I love how it smells, I love how it feels and it's a nice change," Nancy Kranzberg said.
With poor drainage on desert roadways making for slick driving, drivers were urged to take it easy.
"The need to slow down, man," Mike Swebber said. "The roads are slippery and they gotta just take it a little more mellow."
Atop the tram, more than an inch of snow fell. Once the clouds clear, it's a pretty view from the Coachella Valley.
"We only get a couple of weeks of this so pretty much enjoy it."