The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 5, 2006; 9:47 AM
SAN JACINTO, Calif. -- Flash flooding triggered mudslides that trapped vehicles in Southern California as the fading remnants of Hurricane John dumped rain on parts of the Southwest.
Eight separate mudslides covered a stretch of road in the San Jacinto area with up to 6 feet of mud and rocks Monday afternoon, trapping 19 vehicles but causing no injuries, said Riverside County Fire Captain Bret Cerini.
Cerini said most of the vehicles were driven out but crews had to pull one car from deep mud.
Hurricane John, which pounded parts of Mexico with up to 20 inches of rain, didn't directly cause the California rain but its remnants helped push tropical moisture into the region, said meteorologist Ted Mackechnie at the National Weather Service.
"It kicked up the moisture and helped (the moisture) spread into our area," Mackechnie said.
Normally dry southern New Mexico got enough rain from the storm system to cause isolated road flooding Monday, and southern Arizona had scattered rain.
In Texas, a half-mile section of Interstate 10 near downtown El Paso was closed by water Monday morning, police spokesman Javier Sambrano said. A Continental Airlines jet got stuck in mud Monday at El Paso International Airport when it strayed off a taxiway, airline spokeswoman Julie King said. No one was hurt.
Across the border from El Paso, the rain flooded neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, knocked down utility poles and caused several traffic accidents. Hundreds of people were evacuated from one neighborhood because of concerns about a dam, said Luz del Carmen Sosa of the city's public safety department.
The hurricane was blamed for the deaths of three people on Mexico's Baja California peninsula, officials said.