The major storm that swept across Southern California prompted flooding and road closures across the Coachella Valley Thursday, with some expected to continue overnight.
As rain intensified through the morning and into the afternoon, the Palm Springs Fire Department issued a “shelter in place” warning to all residents and visitors.
“With heavy rain and flooding like we are experiencing today, it is safer to stay off roadways and shelter in place,” Palm Springs Fire Chief Kevin Nalder said.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Palm Springs Police Department issued voluntary evacuation orders at the Horizon Mobile Home Park in the 3500 block of East Palm Canyon Drive due to rising water in an adjacent wash. Officers moved through the park to notify residents, but no damage or injuries had been reported.
The city also issued a voluntary evacuation order for all residents of Araby Cove south of the wash.
Well in the Desert, a local nonprofit shelter, announced it will remain open through the night for people needing shelter, and the Red Cross was working to set up a temporary shelter at the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way, for residents who leave their homes.
Road closures were widespread throughout the desert area due to the heavy rain, which caused flooding and some rockslides. Flooding was reported on eastbound Interstate 10 in Cabazon and a stretch of Highway 111 was closed between Interstate 10 and Overture Drive in both directions in Palm Springs. That stretch was expected to remain closed overnight, along with a series of other roadways, including portions of Gene Autry Trail, Indian Canyon Road, Farrell Drive, El Cielo Drive and Baristo Road.
At least three sections of state Route 243 between Banning and Idyllwild were compromised because of storm runoff, Caltrans District 8 spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said. Storm runoff opened a massive sinkhole that washed away most of the pavement in one section.
The mountain highway was closed to through traffic and likely will remain out of service for the rest of the month, Caltrans officials said.
In response to the rain and traffic delays, the Palm Springs Unified School District released students early to parents who were able to pick up their children. Children who take buses to school were supervised until the normal release time, district officials said.
All dirt roads were closed in Joshua Tree National Park. A flood watch will remain in effect until 10 p.m. throughout the Coachella Valley, according to the National Weather Service.
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