High Desert pounded by rain, mud

High Desert pounded by rain, mud

MORONGO VALLEY, Calif. - Rain pounded the high desert for the second time in 24 hours early Monday afternoon.  Water spilled off the rooftop and collected in front of the Village Food Mart and Deli in Morongo Valley.  "There's no place for the water to go," said Pauline Prager, the owner.  " It just comes right into our building and the station next door has the same problem.  We have to use sandbags." 

The rain fell in sheets, limiting the visibility for drivers on Highway 62.  Water streamed down the roadway as California Highway Patrol officers stood in the downpour, urging drivers to slow down on the slick, muddy roads.  "It's pretty bad, it hasn't happened for quite awhile," said Thomas Hayworth, who was driving in Morongo Valley.  "There's been some flash flooding going on, and I think the last time was in 1997."

A car got stuck in the messy conditions on 62, just one of the many calls keeping the fire department busy on Monday.  "Be a lot more cautious with your driving," said Captain Geraldo Rodriguez.  "Keep an eye on the conditions that are going on."

When the rain let up, Cal Trans began the clean up process-- pushing mud and debris to the side in hopes of avoiding a closure.  The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve had no choice but to close. "We've been asking for a little rain, but we got more than we asked for," said Preserve host Dee Zeller.  

Rain water coursed through the preserve, leaving downed plants in its wake.  The flash flood even took out part of the boardwalk.  "It's going to take awhile to get it back to where it was, but we will with the help of volunteers," said Zeller.  

While everyone starts to clean up, they're still weary of what else these rain clouds might bring. "It's really, really bad and if continues to rain like this with the street conditions like this, it could flash flood real fast," said Prager.

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