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Rain turns Palm Canyon into flooded muddy mess

Some called it "the wall of water", some called it "an ocean".

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Some called it "the wall of water", some called it "an ocean". Others called the force that cascaded into Cathedral City Thursday night unbelievable.

"It was crazy, like something out of a movie. You would never believe it," Caroldean Ross, whose store was damaged from the water, said. 

Moving at high speeds, the water changed things fast.

"Seriously 5 minutes, it was that fast," Ross said. "Everyone in the parking lot, about 8 cars, all stranded. Cars on (Highway) 111, all stranded."

Flooding shut down Palm Canyon from Cathedral Canyon to Golf Club.
The Tramview mobile home park got hit hard. Many people evacuated.

The water shocked some.

"We kept hearing them break in about flash floods, and we said 'We live in Palm Springs, we don't get that here,'" Ross said. 

It served as an unwelcome déjà vu for others, though. 

"This is the second time in four years that the exact same scenario has happened," Joe Dirienzo said of his home that was damaged twice now. 

Dirienzo referred to 2008, when a summer storm sent a wall of water onto Highway 111, damaging businesses. The Eagle Canyon Dam was built as a temporary solution, until funds for a permanent dam were available. 

"I just completely remodeled the house from top to bottom. Now it's under eight inches of water....again," Dirienzo said. 

"We've been fighting for this damn dam project for 25 years. Isn't it about time somebody does something? We're struggling with the county, the city is struggling with them. I have sat at more meetings trying to get this dam project done," Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa said. 

As for making sure this doesn't happen a third time, "I'll be talking to the supervisor's office, to county flood control. My staff is working as best they can to get this cleaned up," Mayor DeRosa said. 

Mayor DeRosa said this is a joint project between Cathedral City, Palm Springs, the tribe and the county to find funds for a permanent dam.
Despite all the damage and fast moving water, no injuries to report this time. 

Street sweepers began sweeping at 8:30 Thursday night. Officials expected Palm Canyon to open back up by 6 a.m. Friday morning. 

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