Mountain rain causes valley flooding and road closures

mystery flood pkg

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Flooding made for a slow commute on Vista Chino where one westbound lane was closed Tuesday. Gene Autry Trail was also closed from the 10 to Via Escuela. But, it reopened just before noon Tuesday. On the other side of the valley in Desert Hot Springs, water crossed Dillon road. However, the street remained open. 

The flooding and road closures made for a messy commute for people like Ace Champion. 

"Oh my god this morning my commute was all messed up it," said Champion. "I had to take the freeway all the way around Cathedral City and then come this way and when I got to that way the road was flooded so that was strike two. So I had to go all the way around and I was already like 20 minutes late to work this morning."

Champion was late and wondering why.

"Did I miss something last night," he said jokingly. 

David Barakian, Palm Springs Director of Public Works, said it was the result of a combination of things. 

"We just put two and two together and figured it must have rained up north Desert Hot Springs or points north tributary to Mission Creek, came under the freeway, and came to Gene Autry," he said.

So how much rain caused this? Just under a third of an inch fell in the high desert.

"The water is tributary to the creeks and all the creeks are tributary to the Whitewater River and river is the key word there," added Barakian. 

Because when the river fills, our streets flood.

There is a solution to these road closures. It would entail building a bridge over Vista Chino, Gene Autry and Indian Canyon where they cross the Whitewater Wash. A federally funded bridge on Vista Chino is already in the works -- but could take anywhere from five to 10 years to complete. 

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