BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A record-shattering rain system faded Monday night, leaving a soggy, and still often flooded, Kern County behind.
Tuesday was dry, though a new round of rain is expected before midnight. That rain should last through late Wednesday.
Several single-day rain records were set countywide since the storm began Friday. In total, most parts of the valley floor saw more than 4 inches of rain, with mountain communities receiving even more. By contrast, the average annual rainfall for the Kern County valley is 6.5 inches of rain.
This has already been the wettest December in records going back about 130 years. It's been the fourth-wettest month of all time.
All the rain prompted the establishment of emergency response centers, emergency proclamations, sandbag stations and numerous road closures.
Highway 178 remained closed Tuesday from the mouth of the canyon to Borel Road near Bodfish due to rock slides. People traveling between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella were forced to use Highways 155 and 14 as the alternate route.
Caltrans said Tuesday that Hwy. 178 could be closed until Dec. 31 as crews work to stabilize the rocky sides of the canyon before removing the boulders on the roadway.
Weedpatch Highway was also closed from Panama Lane to Hermosa. Otherwise, rain mostly left residential areas and smaller city streets under water.
The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross stepped in to take financial donations to assist flood victims. Flood waters damaged some homes, cars and other property, but the extent of the damage was unknown.
The city of Bakersfield set up a 24-hour help line. Residents affected by flooding could call 852-7000. For help countywide, residents could call 211.
Sandbags were still available at Bakersfield's Yokuts Park. Other communities, such as Shafter, Wasco and Tehachapi, also set up sandbag stations. Approximately 42,000 sandbags have been received by Kern County and some 36,000 have been delivered to various communities in the county, according to the Kern County Fire Department.
Some folks tried making the best of flooded streets by swimming or rafting in them. The county public health department warned that the flood waters contain health risks. The water covering roads could contain infectious diseases, accumulated oils and gasoline from the roadways, pesticides and fertilizers, pet droppings, raw sewage and other trash, officials said.
Emergency proclamations were declared late Sunday in Bakersfield and Kern County. The proclamations were mainly a procedural move to get paperwork in order in the event the governor declares a state of emergency, according to the Bakersfield City Manager's office.
A small group of people had to be evacuated Monday in Weldon because of extensive runoff in the area between Kelso Valley Road and Kelso Creek Road. A precautionary, voluntary evacuation took place in the McFarland area, but that was lifted within a few hours.