Sinkhole Opens in California After Flooding and Newsom’s State of Emergency

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 30, 2024

A large sinkhole has emerged in the Miramar area of San Diego following intense rain and flash floods. This has caused significant disruptions in the area, with images circulating on social media showing the extent of the damage.

The City of San Diego, in a statement on its social media, highlighted the impact on traffic: “Due to construction work, Miramar Road westbound lanes between Cabot and Dowdy drives are currently closed to through traffic.”

Traffic Disruptions and Public Reaction

The sinkhole’s appearance has led to considerable traffic delays, disrupting the daily commute of many residents, as reported by Newsweek.

A cluster of traffic signs and barriers on a street indicating multiple directions for road closures and detours. Visible signs include 'Road Closed,' 'Wrong Way,' and 'Detour' amidst orange traffic cones and flashing warning lights

Source: Jamie Street/Unsplash

Social media user Giulietta Elise Lizarraga expressed her concerns, in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter: “San Diego is falling apart after the recent storm. There is a giant sinkhole on one of the main streets, and it is causing massive traffic.”


Record Rainfall in San Diego

Newsweek reports that San Diego recently experienced a stunning level of rainfall, with the National Weather Service reporting: “A record-breaking amount of rain — 2.7 inches — had fallen as of 8 p.m. on Monday, beating the previous record of 1.53 inches in 1967.”

A photograph taken on a rainy night captures the glare of headlights and streetlights reflecting on a wet urban road. A public transport bus is seen from behind

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This unprecedented weather event has been a primary factor in causing the sinkhole and other related incidents across the city.

State of Emergency Declared

In response to the extreme weather conditions, San Diego’s mayor, Todd Gloria, declared a state of emergency (via X).

A white sedan is stuck at an awkward angle in a large muddy area, with its front end dipped into the ground and rear raised. A traffic cone is placed beside the car, indicating a hazardous area. In the foreground, a person wearing a red 'True Religion' t-shirt is walking away from the vehicle

Source: Getty Images

He emphasized the severity of the situation, stating: “I have declared a state of emergency in the City of San Diego due to extreme rainfall and flash flooding.”

Rescue Operations by San Diego Fire Department

The San Diego Fire Department has been actively involved in rescue operations across the city, according to NBC News.

Close-up view of a firefighter from behind, captured standing with hands clasped behind the back. The firefighter is wearing full gear. In the background, other firefighters are visible near a fire truck, with orange traffic cones

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They have been instrumental in aiding residents affected by the floods, showcasing their commitment to public safety and emergency response in these challenging times.

Dramatic Flood Effects on City's Infrastructure

The heavy rains have transformed some of San Diego’s streets into waterways, with videos on social media platforms like X showing cars being swept away by the floodwaters.

Several cars are submerged in brown, churning floodwaters. A blue car is notably deeper in the water, with only the roof and upper part of the doors visible. White and gray vehicles are also partially submerged, angled awkwardly as the water flows rapidly around them

Source: lewivuittonn/X

NBC News reports that the extreme weather has significantly impacted the city’s infrastructure, leading to road closures and safety concerns for the public.


Community Rescue Efforts

NBC San Diego reveals that the Southcrest neighborhood was particularly affected, with residents requiring rescue from rapidly rising floodwaters.

Two workers in high-visibility clothing and hard hats are using tools to clear mud from a waterlogged street. The area is cordoned off with yellow caution tape and orange traffic cones, suggesting recent flood cleanup efforts

Source: Getty Images

Local authorities and emergency services were quick to respond, ensuring the safety of those trapped by the flooding.


Navy Base San Diego Affected

Navy Base San Diego also experienced flooding, affecting the base’s operations, as per information from NBC News.

An imposing aircraft carrier is navigating through the water with a bustling city skyline in the background. The carrier is accompanied by a smaller security boat creating a wake. The skyline features modern high-rise buildings and is set against a clear blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Officials advised personnel to shelter in place as they managed the situation, highlighting the widespread impact of the storm across various sectors of the city.


School Closures Due to Flooding

NBC News reported that the adverse weather conditions led to the closure of schools in La Mesa and Spring Valley, prioritizing the safety of students and staff.

A young woman in the foreground is taking notes in a notebook during a class. She is wearing a striped blouse and has blonde hair. Behind her, other students are also focused on their work, including one wearing a cap

Source: Freepik

At a news conference that took place at a San Diego high school that is being used as a shelter, Mayor Gloria said, “This weather event was predicted, in terms of rain, but the amount of rain in the short amount of time was a bit of a surprise to, I think, everybody.”


Request for Aid

In the wake of the flooding, Mayor Gloria sought assistance from higher authorities.

The Governor of California, stands behind a podium bearing the seal of the Governor of the State of California. To his left is the flag of the United States, and to his right is the flag of California with its distinctive bear

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He planned to request state governor Gavin Newsom for federal funds to aid in the city’s recovery, NBC News reports.


Red Cross Provides Crucial Support

NBC News shares that The American Red Cross, led by regional CEO Sean Mahoney, has been vital in providing relief efforts.

Three emergency workers in high-visibility rain gear are actively clearing debris in a flooded area. One is bent over, reaching into the water, while another holds a pole upright, and the third is using a tool to move water or debris. They are next to a brick wall

Source: Getty Images

Offering shelter, hot meals, and mental health support, the organization plays a key role in aiding affected residents, particularly the displaced and unhoused.


Climate Change and Its Impact on Weather Patterns

NBC News reported that at a news conference, Mayor Gloria shared insights from his experience at a conference of U.S. mayors in Washington.

A white and blue pickup truck is driving through high floodwaters, creating waves and splashes as it moves. The water level reaches nearly halfway up the vehicle's wheels. A driver is visible through the truck's window

Source: Wade Austin Ellis/Unsplash

Gloria said: “It doesn’t matter what mayor from what part of the country, what you see is people having experiences exactly like this one. ‘We’re used to snow, but not this much snow,’ or, ‘We’re used to rain but not this much rain.’ These unusual weather patterns that are really beyond people’s typical experience … it’s exactly what all of us are describing and why so many of us are so active on the issue of climate change.”