MADERA, California (KSEE) — Mother Nature giving holiday travelers no break as rain covered the Central Valley Sunday. It only added to the headaches, causing a massive traffic backup on a major highway.
While the latest storm system caused some problems during the rainfall, the issues didn’t end when it stopped in the afternoon.
Most notably on Highway 99, where flooding at Avenue 16 in Madera County caused a backup on the northbound side. For most of the day, the backed up traffic reached Fresno County. At times, the traffic was at a standstill.
Wes Martin is expecting to clock 12 hours on the road Sunday, who was traveling back to Colfax from Auberry when we met him. He did his best to avoid the issues on Highway 99.
“We went into Madera and took all of the side roads,” he said.
James Healey, a driver for Mariposa-based MMA Towing, is currently in the middle of a busy night. We caught him when he just started his shift and he said the calls were already racking up.
“There’s one that we still have to pick up. [The car] is about 50 feet down in a ravine, laying up against a tree,” Healey said. “We have to get CHP to shut the road down and help us out.”
Healey has been towing for more than 20 years and he’s seen many avoidable tragedies on the road. Anyone driving on any highway in the area Sunday likely saw a number of accidents due to the weather.
Healey asks people slow down, especially since many are likely to be traveling through the night.
“In this busy life, people tend to just [want to] get going, but take the moment to enjoy it,” he said.
Not everyone had travel headaches Sunday. A family we ran into in Madera County was on the way back to Fresno from Sonora. They said when the rain started, they ducked into an arcade off the highway to wait things out.
Once they got back on the road, they’ve only seen light traffic.