1 of 8 | A car is submerged in one of the flooded areas of Cathedral City, Calif., on Monday. As dawn broke across the Los Angeles region after Hilary crossed the area late on Sunday, onlookers were met by scenes of widespread flooding and mudslides. Photo by Allison Dinner/EPA-EFE
Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Residents of southern California and Nevada on Monday began to assess the damage from record-shattering rainfall and mudslides in the wake of what remains of Tropical Storm Hilary.
As dawn broke across the Los Angeles region following Hilary's push through the area late on Sunday, onlookers were met by scenes of widespread flooding and mudslides.
The initial assessments found vehicles trapped in rivers of mud, debris flows blocking roads, trees uprooted and smashed into cars and homes, and streams of water rushing through residential neighborhoods.
California Department of Transportation crews early Monday were removing mud and debris that had flowed onto highways throughout the region, including Interstate 5 in the Sun Valley area of the San Fernando Valley.
"Drivers, watch for debris on roadways, including rocks on canyon & mountain roads!" Caltrans officials warned.
More than 53,000 homes and businesses in the state were without power as of mid-morning on Monday, including 9,500 in Los Angeles County, according to PowerOutage.us.
Two of the hardest-hit areas appeared to be Cathedral City, Calif., and Palm Springs, Calif., where the California National Guard's 330th Military Police Company was brought in to support rescue operations by local responders.
In Palm Springs, Interstate 10 was closed in both directions as photos posted by city officials showed extensive flooding damage at Indian Canyon.
Shelter-in-place orders were also issued for some residents of San Bernardino County while an evacuation order was in effect for those of the Serrano Square neighborhood.
In Ventura County, two people were rescued while a third is unaccounted for after they became trapped in the Santa Clara River, the Ventura County Fire Department PIO said online.
Historic two-day rainfall totals abounded across the region, with the heaviest downfalls concentrated in the San Gabriel Mountains and foothills, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Burbank.
The totals included 8.5 inches at Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest, 6 inches at the San Gabriel Dam and 4.8 inches in Beverly Hills. while 2.5 inches fell at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
Downtown Los Angeles, meanwhile, recorded 2.48 inches of rainfall on Sunday, shattering the record for the wettest August day in the city. The previous wettest day was Aug 17, 1977, at 2.06 inches of rain.
In addition to the rain, howling winds swept through southern California late Sunday as Hilary came though, including a gust of 87 mph at the Magic Mountain Truck Trail and 66 mph at the Camp 9 Recreation Area in the western San Gabriel Mountains.
The heavy rains falling onto forested areas already scarred by wildfires posed a high danger for triggering mudslides, officials warned.
School districts in San Diego and Los Angeles shuttered their doors for Monday as the area prepared from the storm.
The San Diego County Office of Education announced in a statement Sunday that it was postponing the start of the school year a day due to the storm, while the Los Angeles Unified School District also closed its facilities on Monday, stating the decision to do so was not an easy one to make.
Hilary made landfall as a tropical storm Sunday morning in Baja California, Mexico, where it killed one person, before making its way north into Southern California, when it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom had declared a state of emergency for much of southern California on Saturday while Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo followed with a similar declaration for his state on Sunday, a day after activating 100 of the state's National Guardsmen to support Southern Nevada.
As Monday progressed, attention shifted to Nevada as Hilary made its way northward.
Dozens of flights into and out of Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas were canceled or delayed on Monday due to the storm, according to FlightAware.com, while a flood watch was in effect for much of southern Nevada until 5 p.m. Monday.
Flooding closed Nevada State Route 157 in Kyle Canyon, about 15 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and residents of the area were placed under a boil water notice due to a major leak in the system caused by heavy rains.
Video posted by rangers at the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest showed floodwaters cascading through Kyle Canyon and warned people to stay away from the area.
Washed-out sections of highway were discovered in the same area by state highway officials, who warned that the extent of the damage made it impossible to estimate when the roads would be reopened.