Monday, August 4, 2014
MOUNT BALDY, Calif. (AP) — Thunderstorms that swept across Southern California on Sunday led to the death of one person and caused mountain mudslides that stranded more than 2,000 others, authorities said.
A body was found in a car that was swept into a rain-swollen creek in Mount Baldy and overturned, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Chris Prater said.
Further east, flash floods brought thick debris flows that cut off access to two towns. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris, authorities said.
The stranded include 500 children and adults who had arrived at a Forest Falls campground Sunday morning.
"Our concern is that they're isolated at that campground and no longer have access out of the mountain," Kyle Hauducoeur, another county fire spokesman, said.
Authorities made reverse 911 calls to urge residents to stay put while crews clear the roads with bulldozers. The muck was so thick it submerged a van in Forest Falls, while on Mount Baldy water swept a hot tub into the road.
Flash floods led to the rescue of several people. Hauducoeur said a woman in Mt. Baldy was rescued from her house before it was buried in mud. Four additional homes in the Bear Creek area were damaged by the debris flow, he said.
In the Angeles National Forest, a group of 4 or 5 people and a dog were airlifted to safety.
A U.S. Forest Service spokesman told KNBC-TV some campers had seconds to evacuate before a torrent of water washed their tents and belongings.
"It sounded like a freight train coming through," Robert Ethridge said.
Monsoonal moisture brought brief but fierce storms to mountain, desert and inland areas. In and around Palm Springs, knee-deep water flooded city streets and stranded vehicles. In the city of Redlands, the storm downed a tree and knocked out power to a few neighborhoods.
The downpour dumped as much as 3 ½ inches of rain on Forest Falls, and nearly 5 inches of rain on Mount Baldy, the National Weather Service said.
Authorities said crews were assessing the extent of damages caused by the storms.