- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

Thunderstorms pounded Southern California through the weekend, causing flash flooding and smashing July rainfall records. Here’s what happened:

HURRICANE DOLORES: Atmospheric moisture flowed into the region from former Hurricane Dolores, which had formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s southwestern coast and moved northwestward, losing some strength as it moved into cooler waters but still spinning as a tropical storm off Baja California on Saturday.

DRAMATIC WEATHER: Skies darkened and thunder rumbled across normally sun-splashed summer skies, unleashing downpours punctuated by lightning strikes and gusts, especially in the mountains and deserts. Thousands of utility customers lost power. Tourists whipped out umbrellas and scattered as a sudden shower hit Hollywood Boulevard.

BRIDGE WASHOUT: On Sunday, a torrent gushing down a desert wash collapsed a bridge on Interstate 10 about 174 miles east of Los Angeles. Based on radar estimates, rain fell in the area at the rate of 1.5 inches per hour during the afternoon, and total accumulation Sunday was 6.7 inches. The washout left one vehicle dangling over the side with its driver inside. Other drivers used straps from their trucks to tie the vehicle to a guardrail to keep it from washing away. Firefighters worked to free the driver in rapidly rising waters as pieces of asphalt and debris fell about them. The driver’s injuries were described as moderate.

RECORDS: July is a notoriously dry month but many daily rainfall marks were set Sunday in the region, including .02 inch in downtown Los Angeles. The tiny amount broke the previous July 19 record of a “trace” set in 1946, 1948 and 2014. The downtown’s July rainfall total now stands at .38 inch - more rain than in all the months of July since 1987 combined.

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