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January 11, 2005: Flooding - Frank Sinatra Drive (at the wash)

Following the record-setting rains across Southern California from late December through the 2nd week of January, normally empty water drainage channels (washes) suddenly became raging torrents of muddy water. In the Coachella Valley desert communities near Palm Springs, many major routes run directly through these washes. The night of January 10, a guy driving a small red pickup truck mistook the volume of water as it rapidly rose up and over the level of Frank Sinatra Drive, a four-lane road that traverses the wash, and was forced off the road. He was later retrieved by an area fast-water rescue team. Midday the next day, when these photos were taken, mountain runoff is just peaking and cross-wash routes (even some that are bridges over the wash!) are closed for dozens of miles. These kinds of fast-water rescues were played out across Southern California, where confused Angelenos in particular seemed predisposed to challenging flooded intersections that were far deeper than they ever realized (and only getting deeper by the minute). These same rains were responsible for the La Conchita landslide disaster on Jan. 10, too.