20 feet of mud and debris trapped 200 vehicles along a California highway.
Drought stricken California was slammed with devastating mudslides over the weekend, trapping 200 vehicles along California 58 east north of downtown Los Angeles.
The trapped vehicles included 75 tractor trailers and two tour bases that were carrying passengers after rain slammed the dry region and triggered flash floods, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The mudslides hit in the area of Sand Canyon east of Tehachapi, carrying 20 feet of mud and debris across the highway as commuters traveled on Tehachapi Pass in Kern County.
Drivers abandoned their vehicles, and in some cases had to be rescued due to the huge volume of mud that threatened to bury everything in its path. Some, however, remained in their vehicles overnight, braving the difficult conditions.
Rescue crews have managed to get most drivers out, but work continued into Friday to dig through the mud and create a pathway to get the vehicles out and clear the highway. It could take days for crews to clean up the road, and authorities urged people to avoid the area in the meantime until officials can give the all clear.
One witness quoted in the LA Times report said that he looked to his left and saw what looked like a waterfall pouring from a canyon, and the mud suddenly swooped in between the vehicles, stalling them there. The man said he stayed into his truck into late Thursday, and then he left his truck to join other truckers in looking through the cars for anyone who needed rescuing.
California’s difficult drought conditions create a bad situation when torrential rains do strike. It could continue to get worse for the state, with drought conditions still deeply set in and the promise of El Nino bringing heavy rains to the state. California senators wrote a letter to various federal agencies urging for action to protect the state.
“Given four years of historic drought, a devastating fire season, and likelihood that a strong El Niño will bring heavy rains to California, the risk of flooding is dangerously high,” they wrote. “We are already seeing the potential for disaster.”