Flash Floods, Mudslides Strand Drivers in Southern California

Punishing Flash Floods Trigger Fast-Moving Mudslides in California 3:08

A flood of mud and debris triggered by heavy rainfall in Southern California rushed onto streets and highways Thursday, stranding hundreds in their cars and closing a major interstate.

Nearly 40 miles of Interstate 5 north in Los Angeles were still closed Friday afternoon after heavy rainfall sent mud, debris and even boulders streaming into the north-south running freeway, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Some people, stuck in up to 5 feet of mud, were forced to camp overnight in their vehicles, according to NBC Los Angeles. Pictures on social media showed some cars submerged in debris up to the windshields.

No injuries were reported, but the Los Angeles Fire Department said that six people and four dogs were rescued from vehicles stuck in the abrupt flooding. Another six people and six dogs were rescued from the rooftops of two homes after water rushed in, the department said.

Up to 3 inches of rain pounded the areas of Leona Valley, Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake within just a half hour Thursday, according to The storm also brought golf-ball sized hail, and there were two reports of funnel clouds in the area.

"I've never seen it rain that hard in such a short period of time, the hail and wind — it was coming down hard," said Robert Rocha, who was driving home from work in Lake Hughes when the storm struck.

"The debris was just intense — chunks of wood and rock flowing everywhere," he told The Associated Press.

Most of Southern California was still under flash flood warnings and watches Friday afternoon, as more rain was expected and the ground was heavily saturated, according to the National Weather Service.

Mudslides Strand California Travelers 1:19