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California I-10 bridge washes out amid rains

As storm clouds loom in the distance, lifeguards advise people to leave the pier and beach during the Ocean Festival in San Clemente, Calif., on Saturday. (Associated Press)
As storm clouds loom in the distance, lifeguards advise people to leave the pier and beach during the Ocean Festival in San Clemente, Calif., on Saturday. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – An elevated section of Interstate 10 collapsed Sunday amid heavy rains in a remote desert area of California, cutting off traffic between the state and Arizona and leaving a driver injured.

A bridge on eastbound I-10 across a normally dry desert wash about 50 miles west of the Arizona state line washed away, the California Highway Patrol said, blocking all traffic headed toward Arizona.

The westbound section of the freeway remained intact, but traffic was being stopped while it was inspected for safety.

The Riverside County Fire Department said it had to extract a driver who crashed in the collapse. The person was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.

The rains came amid a second day of showers and thunderstorms in southern and central California that were setting rainfall records in what is usually a dry month.

Rain fell Sunday afternoon in parts of Los Angeles County’s mountains, the valley to the north and inland urban areas to the east. The city also was expected to get a late repeat of Saturday’s scattered showers and occasional downpours as remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores brought warm, muggy conditions northward.

The showers forced the Los Angeles Angels’ first rainout in 20 years and the San Diego Padres’ first rainout since 2006.

Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five places that had the most rain ever recorded on any day in July, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sirard.

July is typically the driest month of the year in Southern California. Because of that, Saturday’s 0.36 inch of rain in downtown Los Angeles exceeded the 0.24 inch recorded July 14, 1886, which had been the wettest July day in nearly 130 years.

Saturday’s storm brought flash floods and power outages and turned Los Angeles County’s typically packed coast into empty stretches of sand when the threat of lightning forced authorities to close 70 miles of beaches.

Meanwhile, the summer storm has helped firefighters advance on two wildfires that broke out Friday.

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