Los Angeles

Cars Hauled Away From Mud-Swamped Highway in Kern County

Crews have hauled away the last of more than 100 vehicles buried in mud on a California highway during flash flooding last week, but tons of hardened earth still needs to be removed before lanes reopen.

The California Department of Transportation says drainage systems also need to be cleared along an 8-mile stretch of State Route 58 in Kern County, about 110 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Officials say they hope to reopen the highway by Thursday at the latest.

Landslides trapped dozens of cars, buses, RVs and big-rig trucks during last week's thunderstorms.

To the south, Los Angeles County crews Sunday reopened stretches of five roads in mountain communities also inundated during the flooding.

Work continues to clear two other roads in the Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth areas.

County crews will continue their efforts to reopen Munz Ranch Road between Elizabeth Lake and Lancaster roads, and Lake Hughes Road from Elizabeth Lake to Dry Gulch roads.

Children in the Lake Hughes area are back in school for the first time since heavy rain triggered massive mudslides. About a dozen students were stranded at school after a sea of mud blocked the road. As a precaution, school was closed Friday.

“Custodian and maintenance team did a great job last year preparing the spillway behind us. We were anticipating rains last year, they never really came. It could've possibly been worse if we didn't prepare," said Steve Martinez a principal in the Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Elementary School District.

Records were set on Oct. 15 for rainfall in Palmdale, Sandberg and Fox Field in Lancaster, according to the National Weather Service.

Officials did not report when Route 58, the Mojave-Barstow Highway, would reopen. Nearly 200 cars were trapped under mud and debris when the storm hit. 

Flood waters and mud also damaged homes in Palmdale and Lancaster.

LA County emergency management officials are urging residents whose properties were damaged by last week's storms and mudslides to report the damage by filling out an online assessment survey.

According to the county Office of Emergency Management, residents can fill out the survey at www.lacounty.gov/elnino and click on the "Damage Assessment Survey" link under the heading "Info for Affected Homeowners."

Residents can also contact the county's 211 information line or visit www.211LA.org to obtain referrals for damage assistance.

Contact Us