The storm drains failed and the ground opened up Wednesday afternoon at a Ventura city intersection.
The good news is that no one was hurt when a huge sinkhole appeared beneath a portion of asphalt and sidewalk at the corner of Rincon and Poli streets. The bad news? Filling it in could take days.
A spokeswoman for Southern California Gas says a three-inch plastic gas line in the hole is apparently unscathed, although its presence makes shoring up the hole a bit more difficult. She says residents' gas service will not be interrupted during the repair.
Officials say Wednesday afternoon's torrential downpours over-powered the storm drains, but the rain stopped just in time to prevent a larger problem. If there had been more water over a sustained period of time, said one Venture Police officer, the entire intersection could have collapsed, taking the gas pipe with it.