The main highway from Los Angeles to Phoenix ravaged by flash floods that swept part of the way through the Southern California desert in the latest punitive attack rainy season thunderstorms that hit the region this month.

The latest round of flooding began Wednesday night, damaging the eastern lane of Interstate 10 near the small community of Desert Center, about 165 miles (265 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

Traffic in both directions was stopped initially, but lanes were to the west for motorists heading from Arizona to California reopen later.

“We had a project going on in that area on I-10, so it’s an I-10 setup, so kind of the silver lining is we have a detour, and that’s actually what we beat the flood and water, so the good thing is they can use the main line is now for one lane going east that allows traffic from LA to Arizona,” said Eric Dionne of Caltrans.

All eastbound traffic was diverted until the California Department of Transportation managed to reopen one lane Thursday morning.

Officials recommend that people heading from Southern California take Interstate 8 or 40, which are major detours.

“Everyone, just take it [your] time,” said truck driver Lorne Focht. “Don’t cut people, and be patient. People get frustrated in traffic, and believe me, truck drivers are just as frustrated as anyone.”

The main highway from Los Angeles to Phoenix was damaged by flash floods that washed part of the way through the Southern California desert in the latest bout of monsoon rainstorms to hit the region this month. (Caltrans District 8)

Photo posted by Caltrans showing water running through a deep gouge on a highway pavement. The flooding also affected other roads in the region, including State Routes 177, 78 and 62.

“The infrastructure isn’t ready for that yet,” said Dionne. “I don’t think anything, really, what’s in place could possibly hold it in. It’s just one of those things, and hopefully, we can open it up as quickly as possible, but we also have to make sure the integrity of the road is still there, and we do it in a safe way too.”

Expressway affected by similar incidents in the past

Flash floods in the same area in July 2015 swept away a bridge on the east side of I-10 and eroded the ground under the bridge heading west.

The interstate was closed for nearly a week for repairs to the westbound bridge, which then brought traffic in a single lane in each direction. The east side does not reopen until September.

The National Weather Service said more flooding is possible through Thursday across large swaths of Southern California’s mountains and deserts.

AGAIN: ‘Mass evacuation’ lifts in Duncan, Arizona amid floods

Flash floods earlier this summer damaged roads in Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Reserve and on the south side of Joshua Tree National Park.

Officials called the August 5 floods in Death Valley historic. Hundreds of visitors were initially stranded by floodwaters and debris-covered roads. It took about two weeks for the park to reopen its most popular area.

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By Blanca

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