Monsoon storms flood Fort Irwin
Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif.
FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The Fort Irwin community is left picking up water damage debris after a monsoon storm that lasted over an hour flooded the military training center on Sunday afternoon, according to Fort Irwin officials.
Director of Public Affairs Pamela Portland said several roads were littered with mud and debris, some even completely washed out, forcing the roads to remain closed.
According to Portland the damage was extensive and it could take a couple days for crews to clean up and assess the damage costs.
Portland said she spoke to several people from Public Works, and according to them they have not seen rain like this in over 30 years.
There were not any injuries or deaths related to the flash flood, according to Portland.
As of 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, 160 work orders were reported for homes affected by the flooding, according to Portland. Portland said 90 of the reports were for homes with water damage, 30 were damaged roofs and 20 were water damages due to a broken water main.
Many buildings including the barracks and dining facility, were flooded in the storm. There were no electrical blackouts from the flooding.
“It’s going to take some time, this happened overnight, the clean up is going to take weeks,” Portland said. “There is a lot of areas that are cordoned off due to hazard dangers and safety issues, because the ground underneath the pavement has completely washed away.”
Portland said high school students on the installation that attend Silver Valley High School in Yermo still had bus transportation to campus, but the bus routes were altered due to road closures.
All three Fort Irwin schools were closed Monday due to water and mud damage. Lewis Elementary, the largest of Silver Valley Unified School District schools, was hit hardest.
SVUSD Superintendent Marc Jackson said Monday that the school, which services students K-2, will be closed six to eight weeks for assessments and repairs.
“It was not the sight I wanted to see when I walked in,” Jackson said. “It really looked like a war zone.”
Jackson will meet with Col. Jon Braga, Fort Irwin’s garrison commander, to find an alternative location in the meantime to teach the school’s approximately 650 students.
School officials expect to finalize that alternative by the end of this week, Jackson said.
The installation’s two other schools, Tiefort View Intermediate and Fort Irwin Middle, will re-open Tuesday.