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Summer storm: Inland Empire sees more rain as cleanup continues

August 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
From flooding to tornadoes, a late summer storm tore through parts of Southern California for a second day, but the worst appears to be over.

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The Inland Empire saw another round of wet weather Friday as residents continued to clean up from Thursday's downpours. Mud slides, rock slides, flooding as well as downed trees and power lines kept crews busy.

In the Antelope Valley, heavy rain hit Littlerock. Drivers on the Pearblossom Highway encountered the fast-moving storm cell. In the High Desert, the runoff overwhelmed a flood control channel. From Phelan to Perris, and places in between, the stormy weather didn't last long. But it did leave behind a rainbow and plenty of puddles.

The underpass along 14th Street on the westside of the 91 Freeway in Riverside was still flooded Friday morning. The water was so high, that a car was completely submerged. Officials say the driver disobeyed road-block signs and tried to drive through the standing water. That's when his car got stuck. The driver swam to safety, but his car was a total loss. The car was eventually towed out of the water.

Authorities pumped out the water so they could remove the debris and finish the cleanup in order to reopen the major thoroughfare for commuters. The area was still shut off as of midday. Authorities estimated that the water was about 9 to 10 feet deep beneath the underpass.

Riverside resident Carlene Hayes said she parked on Mission Inn as usual, and 3 feet of storm runoff swamped her vehicle.

"It was just a big shock, 'cause one minute, I was like, yeah right, flash floods in Riverside. Thirty minutes later, my car was out here floating like a boat," said Hayes.

In the Forest Falls area in San Bernardino County, flash flooding caused mud and rock slides that completely covered some roads on Thursday. Some boulders that fell were larger than cars. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported but the flooding damaged two homes and destroyed several outbuildings.

Also, flooding forced Riverside Community College to evacuate Thursday. Classes were scheduled to be held Friday.

Major roads became standing ponds as downtown Riverside just wasn't able to handle the high volume of rain water. Dirt being used for roadwork turned into mud, shutting several lanes on the 215, 15 and 91 freeways.

Electricians had their hands full sawing trees hoping to restore power for Beth Musial-Martey and her 8-month-old.

"We're staying in the car. We've been in the car all night trying to keep her cool and charging our phones," Musial-Martey said. "I had friends come over and take all of our perishables and store them at their home, but other than, just sitting and sweating."

Musial-Martey's family lives just outside Rubidoux, but Moreno Valley and Corona residents were also without electricity.

According to Edison, the strong wind and downed trees are to blame for more than 2,000 of its customers being without power Thursday night and into Friday morning. They're also blamed for damaging vehicles.

The Riverside's Public Works Department and police officers are doing what they can to get things back to normal.

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