Downpours started around and lasted roughly an hour, with driving rain accompanied by high winds. Flooded roads were exacerbated in some areas by toppled trees.
“We had the equivalent of a 200-year flood in one hour,” Riverside Public Utilities Deputy Director Steve Badgett told City News Service. “It rained hard for a solid hour. We recorded nearly 1.5 inches of rain in the heart of the city.”
Trees that had collapsed onto power lines, along with blown transformers, knocked out electricity to more than 10,000 homes and businesses, according to Badgett.
Around 1,000 customers remained without electricity as of , Badgett said. The outages were in isolated pockets of the city, including in
“The sheer amount of water that came down in such a short span of time has caused a lot of problems,” Riverside Public Information Officer Phil Pitchford told City News Service.
Canals throughout the downtown area were unable to handle the high volume of rainwater, which spilled onto roadways, turning low places into virtual ponds.
“The overflow was too much,” Badgett said. “We certainly learned a lesson today.”
Access to the
Two of the worst-hit areas were
Water and mud damage occurred in two homes on
Beeler told City News Service that one home had very light damage, but the adjacent one took the brunt of a “spillover” of mud and debris from the
“The backyard, back patio and garage are just covered in mud,” Beeler said. “Most of the interior is still livable.”
Firefighters were shoring up the canal to prevent any further spillage.
Classes were canceled at
A high-occupancy vehicle lane expansion project on the Riverside Freeway, underway for a year, has resulted in mounds of dirt being left adjacent to freeway off- and on-ramps. Those piles immediately turned to mud during the downpours. The muck impacted rush-hour traffic flow but did not necessitate closing down the freeway.
Pitchford said City Hall offices at
When the city's major thoroughfares, including Chicago Avenue, Victoria Avenue, University and 14th, were shut down, motorists streamed onto narrow two- lane streets that quickly became jammed.
Frustrated drivers made U-turns against red lights to reach alternate routes, only to discover they were partially or completely shut down as well, including Park and Howard avenues.
Municipal buses were caught in the quagmire, delayed for hours, leaving would-be riders stranded at stops along the University corridor.
“I think part of the problem is a lot of people left work early to check on their property, and with everybody hitting the streets at the same time, it added to the difficulties,” Pitchford said.
National Weather Service forecasters said the storm cell that hit the area brought winds in excess of 60 mph and hail.
Photo credit: Jakob Holmes