Southern California Mudflows: Homes and Businesses Destroyed After Massive Mudflows and Dangerous Flooding in Yucaipa Area

OAK GLEN, Calif. (KABC) — Residents in the Yucaipa area are now on a long road to recovery after flash floods sent “wave after wave” of mud into their homes, destroying structures and even businesses.

The heavy rains arrived in the Southern California region as a result of Tropical Storm Kay, formerly a hurricane, passing just offshore.

The storm pushed strong bands of moisture into the area with desert and mountain communities in particular seeing the largest amounts of rain.

In Oak Glen, located east of Yucaipa, residents spent Tuesday cleaning up the massive mess left behind. Many roads remain clogged with mud while electricity is still out in many homes.

Some evacuation orders were finally lifted at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday as crews continued to clear roads and sift through debris for survivors. Yucaipa police tweeted: “Evacuation order will be lifted from Oak Glen Rd/Wildwood Canyon to Upper Potato Canyon Rd. Evacuation order will be lifted from Oak Glen Rd/Casa Blanca to Chagall Rd. Only residents in Oak Glen will be allowed.” Rd/Chagall to Running Quail Rd. Potato Canyon Rd will remain closed.”

Bob Fonzi said he was in his shed when the storm hit.

“About 15 minutes later, I go out to move my tractor and I see all the waves coming towards me,” he recalled.

Within seconds, Fonzi’s horses were stalling in the mud and his trailer began swimming away.

“You have houses and backyards destroyed all the way down this creek,” Fonzi said.

Roger Seheult told Eyewitness News that he was on his way to pick up his daughters from school when a massive mud puddle slammed into him and the Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon.

“Next thing I know, it’s wave after wave after wave of mud, debris, coming down from this flash flood,” he said.

The owner of Oak Glen Steakhouse said the business is badly damaged and is now closed “indefinitely.”

A GoFundMe Page has been started to help the grill. Homeowners expect insurance to cover only a limited amount of the total damage.

The entire dining room and back office of the restaurant remain covered in mud.

The restaurant owners are committed to cleaning up and rebuilding.

“The damage is pretty serious,” restaurant manager Brandon Gallegos said. “As you see, we put many years into this place. A lot of staff who have helped me over the years. A lot of financial investment in everything. When you look at everything, you just have to thank God that everyone is okay.”

Evacuations were ordered Monday night for several communities.

Yucaipa police tweeted that the communities of “Oak Glen, Oak Glen Road, north and south from Casa Blanca Road to the County Line, south from Wild Lilac Point to WildWood Canyon Road, are subject to an evacuation ORDER.”

An evacuation shelter was being set up at Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E Colton Ave, Redlands.

Residents of the Forest Falls community were told to shelter in place until further notice.

VIDEO: Crews in the Yucaipa area work to clean up debris after massive mudflows

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