LOS ANGELES — Streets turned into rivers and parts of UCLA turned into lakes after a massive water main break sent 8 million to 10 million gallons of water gushing through parts of Los Angeles.
The deluge was so massive that swift-water rescue crews with boats had to ferry away several stranded people.
At least three motorists were rescued from underground parking garages where stairwells had turned into raging waterfalls.
Dozens of vehicles were partly submerged, UCLA said. At least two of the inundated garages belong to the university.
And while authorities managed to stop the water hemorrhage by Tuesday night, the situation might not clear until later Wednesday.
“I’d like to tell you we’d have it fixed by the morning, but I don’t think that’s really possible,” James McDaniel of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Tuesday night.
He said crews will work through the night, trying to dewater the massive crater caused by the explosion.
Much of UCLA deluged
The UCLA campus, on the city’s west side, suffered much of the damage.
The flooding covered the court of Pauley Pavilion, home to the Bruins’ basketball, volleyball and women’s gymnastics teams. The facility had just gone through a multi-million-dollar renovation two years ago.
“Unfortunately, Pauley Pavilion took quite a bit of water,” Chancellor Gene Block told reporters Tuesday night. “It’s painful.”
At least one outdoor athletic stadium turned into an island of grass surrounded by a sea of murky brown water.
But UCLA academic and residence halls were not affected, the university said, and classes will continue Wednesday.
A geyser on Sunset Boulevard
Just before rush hour Tuesday, the 93-year-old water main burst under the world-famous Sunset Boulevard.
The explosion busted through several lanes of the street and sent a geyser of water shooting into the sky. But no one was injured in the ordeal.
It’s not clear exactly what cause the burst. But it happened at a very bad time for the city and state.
Drought-stricken California recently passed statewide water restrictions, and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January.
“Unfortunately we lost a lot of water — around 35,000 gallons a minute — which is not ideal in the worst drought in the city’s history,” Los Angeles city councilman Paul Koretz said. “So we ask everybody to try harder to conserve water.”