Unusually heavy rains in SoCal strand drivers, flood streets

Bone-dry California got more rain on Sunday than it could handle - enough to wash out a bridge on the highway to Arizona.

Hundreds of drivers found themselves stranded in the middle of the desert after an overpass along California's busy I-10 freeway suddenly became a bridge to nowhere.

The bridge collapsed when a swollen creek eroded the hillside, leaving a truck hanging over the edge. It took nearly two hours to rescue the injured driver.

"This collapsed bridge is gonna cause a huge problem for thousands and thousands of people every single day," said Mike Radford, California Highway Patrol spokesman. "This is the major corridor from the L.A. area to out east."

This unusual July rain is the remnant of Tropical Storm Dolores. In Southern California it caused flash floods, turning streets into fast-moving rivers, forcing road closures and leaving drivers stuck.

"This parking lot has now become a river," said one driver.

In Riverside County, firefighters rushed to protect homes with sandbags and patrolled flooded neighborhoods.

"There are a couple of people here that they're trying to rescue," said a firefighter.

In Irvine, ticket holders waded through knee-high water to see an outdoor rock concert.

And the wet weather also took out the ballgame. The Angels were rained out at home Sunday night for the first time in 20 years. A helicopter helped dry the field before Monday's double-header.

July is normally the driest month of the year in Southern California. More than a quarter-inch of rain fell in downtown Los Angeles Saturday, breaking a nearly 220-year-old record.

All of that rain, of course, is welcome here in bone-dry California but despite this kind of damage, not enough rain to even put a dent in our nearly four year long drought.

California transportation officials say Interstate 10 here between Phoenix and Los Angeles will remain closed indefinitely. Their plan is to eventually divert traffic onto the westbound lanes while they tear down and rebuild this bridge.