HomeNewsCathedral City in chaos: Incredible photos show residents being rescued as desert...

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 the Coachella Valley of California, as Cathedral City reels from record-breaking rain caused by Tropical Storm Hilary.

Residents of an assisted living facility were pictured on Monday being rescued by JCB machinery, with many roads left impassable.

Ryan Hunt, a spokesperson for the city, said around a dozen people were taken from the home for the elderly.

All of the people being rescued are ‘doing OK,’ Hunt told CNN on Monday.

Mudslides had cut off the desert town, which is unaccustomed to such rainfall.

Cathedral City Fire Department rescues residents of a senior living center on Monday

Cathedral City Fire Department rescues residents of a senior living center on Monday

Around a dozen people were evacuated from the facility, the Cathedral City city manager said

Around a dozen people were evacuated from the facility, the Cathedral City city manager said

The elderly residents were evacuated by JCB machinery from the desert town

The elderly residents were evacuated by JCB machinery from the desert town

Cathedral City is unaccustomed to flash floods and mudslides, but there have been no fatalities reported

Cathedral City is unaccustomed to flash floods and mudslides, but there have been no fatalities reported

A resident of the senior living facility is seen on Monday being stretchered out of the home

A resident of the senior living facility is seen on Monday being stretchered out of the home

Parts of Cathedral City experienced ‘debris flow’ of a ‘large amount of the mud and sand’ moving into the area due to Hilary, Fire Chief Michael Contreras said earlier Monday.

He said that rescue teams helped seven people who were trapped because of the debris.

Hilary arrived in California as a rare tropical storm that dumped five inches of rain on coastal areas, and 10 inches or more in the mountains, National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Thompson said.

He said it was the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California since September 25, 1939.

No fatalities or significant injuries were reported in the United States, but one man was killed in Mexico when his family was swept away 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 town.

He said the bottom floor of his home flooded waist-high shortly after midnight on Sunday.

‘The roof was our best bet for shelter. Five of us with a two-and-a-half-year old baby,’ said Mendiola.

‘And we did make it to safety by a Good Samaritan passing by and picking us up. All five of us from the roof.’

Cars are seen stuck in the mud in Cathedral City, in the Coachella Valley

Cars are seen stuck in the mud in Cathedral City, in the Coachella Valley

Rocks and mud cover a damaged street following heavy rains from Tropical Storm Hilary in Cathedral City

Rocks and mud cover a damaged street following heavy rains from Tropical Storm Hilary in Cathedral City

A road near Cathedral City is pictured on Monday having been washed away by the floods

A road near Cathedral City is pictured on Monday having been washed away by the floods

Across the city of 52,000, people raked out debris and assessed the damage on Monday after the water rose thigh-high in some areas.

‘Who has flood insurance in a desert?’ said Nancy Ross, a resident of the Canyon Mobile Home in Cathedral City, where multiple homes suffered flood damage.

Ross said she was ‘really worried’ during the storm.

‘It was flowing like a river,’ she said.

Swathes of Southern California were mopping up on Monday and assessing the damage.

In parts of San Diego County, they received a year’s rainfall in one day.

An aerial image shows Interstate 10 on Monday, closed due to flooding and mud crossing the highway

An aerial image shows Interstate 10 on Monday, closed due to flooding and mud crossing the highway

A truck is seen stuck in the mud in Kern County, California, on Monday

A truck is seen stuck in the mud in Kern County, California, on Monday

Emergency workers are seen clearing the roads in Crestline, California

Emergency workers are seen clearing the roads in Crestline, California

Utility workers repairs an electrical line that was damaged by a falling tree on Monday

Utility workers repairs an electrical line that was damaged by a falling tree on Monday

A child makes the most of the flooding in Palmdale, California, on Monday

A child makes the most of the flooding in Palmdale, California, on Monday

A fallen tree lies over two cars following Tropical Storm Hilary in Sun Valley, California

A fallen tree lies over two cars following Tropical Storm Hilary in Sun Valley, California

Emergency officials in Los Angeles received 4,100 calls, said Kristin Crowley, chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

‘This represents over 1,000 additional emergency phone calls than our normal average,’ she said. 

‘Fortunately, we have yet to receive any report of any significant injuries or damage related to the storm.’

While 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 had been anticipated, we are very happy about, but had it been, I have the full confidence that our city, our city family, was prepared to respond,’ said Mayor Karen Bass.

Classes were canceled at public schools across the LA area. 

Southern California got another surprise in the afternoon as an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 hit near Ojai, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

It was felt widely and was followed by smaller aftershocks. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injury. 



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