Dramatic before-and-after images show flooding, destruction from Hilary

Residents from a senior living facility are held by firefighters in a front loader.
Residents from a senior living facility are held by firefighters in a front loader Monday while being brought to safety after Affinity Senior Living in Cathedral City was inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Hilary.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

New images from space show the deluge Tropical Storm Hilary brought to communities in Riverside County’s Coachella Valley.

The satellite photos from Maxar Technologies show Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Thousand Palms on a calm day in April and then again on Monday after heavy rains caused significant flooding.

The photo below shows northern Palm Springs on April 15 (left), and again on Aug. 21.


Floodwaters appear to have washed out a road as they carved their way across the desert, threatening the communities nearby.

The next set of photos shows Cathedral City on the same two days:

By Monday, floodwaters can be seen surrounding houses and inundating several roads. Trucks can be seen amid the brown water.

The final image shows Interstate 10 in Thousand Palms in April and again on Monday:

Heavy traffic can be seen as water swamps the roadway. A number of traffic delays were reported in the area Monday after the storm had passed.

See a time-lapse of the storm’s path over California below.

VIDEO | 00:15
Time-lapse satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Hilary over California

Time-lapse satellite imagery shows Tropical Storm Hilary passing over Southern California on Sunday. (Images from NOAA; video by Sean Greene / Los Angeles Times)


Though the storm was relatively mild in Los Angeles and along the coast, inland communities were hit hard by the flooding.

AccuWeather’s early estimate of the damage and economic loss caused by the storm in the western United States is $7 billion to $9 billion.

The Coachella Valley got 2 to 4 inches of rain at lower elevations, including in Palm Springs and Indio, and about 4 to 6 inches farther west, the National Weather Service said.

Aug. 21, 2023