North Shore residents affected by continuous thunderstorms


Marcela Carrillo

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral/Marcela Carrillo. Road closed due to flooded streets in the North Shore community.

A flash food warning pinged throughout the Coachella Valley as thunderstorms rolled in from San Diego county. High-gushed winds were actively reported on Tuesday, August 31, with a 30% chance of rain. The Coachella Valley was looking forward to a slight drizzle; however, disaster struck in the eastern Coachella Valley.

KESQ issued a flash flood watch for San Bernardino and Riverside county after Monday’s storm. Following a 1-2 inch possibility of rain, the valley also expected dust storms as winds exceeded 45 mph.

During this two-day thunderstorm, the eastern Coachella Valley went through difficulties. North Shore, a census-designated community located along the Salton Sea, witnessed the destruction this thunderstorm left behind.

Thirty-three electrical poles were damaged due to high-gushed winds, leaving 754 residents without power. Other residents endured losing their homes as their roofs could not suitably handle high winds.

Alberto Valencia, 50, a resident in the North Shore community, lost his roof due to the storm. “I was sitting inside when I noticed several shingles flying around,” he said. “At first, I thought it was my neighbor’s roof; however, once I stepped outside, I noticed the entire roof on my own home was missing. There was no warning, nothing. It happened so quickly.”

Samantha Glenn, 18, a resident in the Mecca/North Shore community, had no idea that a storm would hit the Coachella Valley. “I did not know that the thunderstorms were going to happen until it hit,” she said. “I was not informed beforehand.”

Although Glenn’s home survived, Valencia’s roof flying off and getting destroyed was only the beginning.

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral/Marcela Carrillo. Aftermath of Alberto Valencia’s roof.

“My entire house is flooded due to the rain coming down after the wind,” Valencia said. “I needed to grab a bucket and scoop water, then throw it outside into my garden. I have to do this quickly and efficiently, or else it will mess up my flooring panels, and I do not have much money laying around at the moment.”

North Shore, mainly made of the Hispanic population and agricultural workers, may not have sufficient funds to start fixing their houses at the moment. “I’m only a field worker, and I am afraid of how much it will cost to rebuild my roof,” Valencia added.

With little to no help from Riverside County, North Shore has been dependent on the community’s support instead. North Shore has gained assistance from Imperial Irrigation District, where they gave out bottled waters, ice, and flashlights for those affected. Meanwhile, the North Shore Yacht Club has been handing out hot meals and giving residents access to a cooling system as the summer heat threatens residents with 100+ degree weather.

As the temperature rose in the Coachella Valley, various North Shore residents were left without air conditioning and continued fighting without power. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino was giving a shelter option for those who were immensely affected. Women with children and residents who lost their homes were given hotel vouchers.

Valencia was one of the residents with priority to a hotel room. “I am happy that I was able to get my family somewhere safe,” he said. “It is humid at night. Nobody would want their family, especially their children, to endure this.”

With thirty-three poles affected, not only did they have to worry about the heat, but students who are currently attending online school had to worry about their internet connection.

Glenn, a current student, enrolled at College of the Desert, expressed her concern for students battling online school after the storm. “I believe students should exercise their voice. Some of us are not being treated fairly,” she said. “I’ve gotten comments from professors saying that assignments should still be turned in by the due date, dismissing a natural disaster. Why? Simple. It didn’t affect them to notice.”

Students and the community of North Shore have tried to express their voice toward the injustice they received from the county after the storm hit. “If this were La Quinta or Palm Desert, it would not have taken four days to restore the power,” Glenn added. “Let’s face it, living in the Eastern Coachella Valley has never been easy.”

Since the storm hit on August 30, the power was not restored until September 3, leaving the North Shore community voicing their concerns despite being unheard.