Tropical Storm Hilary has triggered devastating mudslides across Southern California roadways.
A mudslide in Palmdale closed several lanes of the 14 Freeway on Sunday, with roads near Octillo and part of the I-8 near San Diego also experiencing blockages.
Crews worked to clear the slide but residents were urged not to make unnecessary travel by the California Transportation Department.
The state is enduring devastating floods and dangerously strong winds, as well as a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Ventura County and a tornado watch in San Diego.
Meanwhile even Death Valley National Park – often one of the hottest and driest places on earth – has been closed due to flooding.
As Hilary continues to wreak havoc across the state:
- Biden said he was monitoring the storm and urged people to take it seriously;
- Counties in Southern California declared emergencies for the tropical storm;
- A hospital in the Coachella Valley flooded after a nearby pond burst its banks;
- LA and San Diego schools were closed through the weekend until Monday;
- One person was killed and four rescued in Baja California following the storm.
Shocking footage of cars swallowed by flood waters in Palm Springs on Sunday
The Los Angeles River was turned from its usual small stream into a torrent of water that filled its banks
Motorists deal with a flooded road and stuck vehicles near Palm Springs during heavy rains from Tropical Storm Hilary
An ambulance drives through a flooded street in Palm Springs, California as Tropical Storm Hilary approached on Sunday
A vehicle drives through a flooded intersection as tropical storm Hilary makes landfall in Palm Springs
Falling boulders also blocked a road near Octillo, and part of the I-8 near San Diego.
Palm Springs has been submerged in a deluge of floodwater as Tropical Storm Hilary continues to batter California.
The storm is proving a nightmare for the Coachella Valley as well as for other desert communities and Southern California’s inland mountain ranges.
The area recorded 2.06 inches of rain on Sunday, a record for the August date, a National Weather Service forecaster said.
Shocking footage emerged throughout Sunday of cars, trucks and ambulances swallowed by flood waters in Palm Springs.
The Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs flooded on Sunday as a result of the record rain.
‘A pond next to Eisenhower hospital in Rancho Mirage overflowed from heavy rains, sending water pouring into the ER’ NBC reported alongside footage of flooded corridors.
‘Crews now working to clean up and sandbag to keep more water out as the rain picks back up’ the outlet added.
Death Valley National Park was closed due to flooding as a result of the downpour brought by Tropical Storm Hilary.
The park released shocking footage of streams coursing through its arid land on Sunday.
The rocky desert landscape near Zabriskie Point was overcome with muddy floodwaters.
Officials for the national park also warned the situation was likely to get worse.
‘This video was taken near Zabriskie Point earlier this morning. Hurricane Hilary is forecasted to cause heavy rain for the next several days, so conditions are expected to worsen,’ the park wrote on Facebook.
Tropical Storm Hilary continued its path of devastation through Southern California on Sunday night
Death Valley National Park has closed due to flooding as a result of the downpour brought by Tropical Storm Hilary
The park, often one of the hottest and driest places on earth, released shocking footage of streams coursing through its arid land on Sunday
Also on Sunday California was hit by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake as Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in LA and San Diego with 80mph winds.
The quake centered in Ventura County was felt across parts of Southern California on Sunday afternoon.
The center is reported to have been four miles southeast of Ojai, about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Shaking was reported in Malibu, Porter Ranch, parts of Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach and other locations.
A tornado warning has also been issued for San Diego and the surrounding Alpine and Descanso areas.
The National Weather Service released the warning at t 3:39 p.m. on Sunday local time, and will last until 4pm.
The United States Geological Survey, which reports and records earthquakes, said there were at least four aftershocks of magnitude-3.0 or greater.
It comes as Tropical Storm Hilary makes landfall in Southern California moving up from Mexico at speeds of 25mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The quake centered in Ventura County was felt across parts of Southern California on Sunday afternoon
Residents are contending with winds of 65mph and the expectation of torrential rain, that may bring up to ten inches in a matter of hours in some places.
At least one person has already died after their vehicle was swept away near Santa Rosalía, after catastrophic flooding swallowed parts of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told CBS during an interview on Sunday that residents can expect ‘significant impact.’
Though the total amount of rain appears unlikely to exceed that of similar storms seen on the East Coast, people should not downplay the threat, Criswell added.
‘People really need to take this storm in California serious,’ she reiterated on ABC.
Panicked stockpiling and chilling images of empty streets have given a small glimpse into things to come as residents batten down the hatches in preparation for the treacherous weather.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency on Saturday for a large swathe of his constituency adding: ‘We’re mobilizing all of government as we prepare and respond to this unprecedented storm.’
While a majority of people took shelter from the storm, others braved wet conditions to bask in the precursor to the storm which had grown to the size of the state of Arizona.
People walk through the rain along Venice Beach in Los Angeles on Sunday
People play with a drainage hose on the beach in Seal Beach, California
A worker drags caution tape to block off Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles after a tree fell on Sunday
A few stragglers could be seen in rain jackets holding umbrellas as angry seas lashed at a pier in Imperial Beach, while some walked along the coastline while they still could.
Surfers relished the staggering walls of oceans being built on the coastline with thrill seekers attempting to make the most of the huge swells in Dana Point – despite beaches being closed in the region.
Shelves at grocery stores lay bare the urgency from a community unfamiliar with such storms as stores were left gutted.
Only tinned fish and in some cases plain white bread available at traditionally stocked up stores, with health-crazed Angelinos snapping up all the healthier wholemeal alternatives.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has armed itself with a full staff and crews ready to work on restoring power and clearing downed trees or power lines, the utility said in a statement.
La Jolla in San Diego prepared for the landfall of Storm Hilary with sand bags around proprieties on Sunday afternoon
Chilling images of empty streets have given a small glimpse into things to come as residents batten down the hatches in preparation for the treacherous weather
A worker walks near a flooded tunnel as Tropical Storm Hilary hits Baja California state, in Mexicali, Mexico, August 20,
Shelves at grocery stores lay bare the urgency from a community unfamiliar with such storms as stores were left gutted
A flooded homeless encampment is seen along California Route 14 in Palmdale, as a tropical storm moves into the area, Sunday
A mailbox stands on a flooded residential street in Palmdale, California as Hilary hit on Sunday
A storm drain overflows onto Santa Monica Beach due to Tropical Storm Hilary on August 20
A person in rain gear looks through the sand at the beach in Carlsbad, California on Sunday
While a majority of people took shelter from the storm, others braved wet conditions to bask in the precursor to the storm which had grown to the size of the state of Arizona
Hilary threatens southern California with treacherous conditions
The city’s reservoirs have ‘sufficient capacity’ to handle any increased runoff due to potential flooding, it added.
Electricity utility Southern California Edison, which serves more than 15 million people in the region, said Hilary is on track to impact much of its service area.
The company said it is preparing to respond to outages but urged residents to gather supplies including flashlights, external battery chargers and ice chests.
Forecasters warned that there could be historic flood impacts, especially for San Bernardino and Inyo counties, with Death Valley and Morongo Basin expected to see the most major flooding.
Roads could be closed in Death Valley and Highway 62 according to the Los Angeles Times.
It said high risk areas in LA County include the San Gabriel Mountains, the Antelope Valley – with rains triggering landslides, debris flow, mud flows and rock slides in those parts.
Peak wind gusts could hit as high as 81 mph at Joshua Tree National Park and 67 mph in Wrightwood.
In Anaheim peak gusts could hit 62 mph, 60 mph in Irvine, 58 in Palm Springs and Ontario, 54 in Big Bear Lake, 52 in Riverside, 46 in San Clemente, 43 in San Diego and 41 in San Bernardino.
In Los Angeles County, possible peak wind gusts could be 44 mph in Santa Clarita and Lancaster, 40 in Northridge and Westlake Village, 35 in Avalon on Catalina Island, 32 in Pomona, 31 in Pasadena, 30 in Long Beach, 29 in downtown Los Angeles and 26 in Redondo Beach.