Last week's rains were a reason to stay home for school for students, an inconvenience to some adults, and a damager of private property to others.


But for residents and business people of 3rd Avenue between Mauna Loa and Mojave Streets in Hesperia, the rains literally changed the face of the neighborhood.


"They built this holding area," said resident Deb Dailey, whose lot backs up to a city of Hesperia drainage basin. "'Oh, it's going to hold all this water.'"


The basin is part of the HO1 storm drain system intended to keep Main Street from turning into a river of brown water during heavy rains. But during last week's storms, the basin overflowed and a torrent of water cut a canyon four feet deep into the vacant lot next door and toward 3rd Avenue.


Dailey's daughter Nicole and her neighbor Sabrina Johnson, both sophomores at Hesperia High School, are each just a little over 5 feet tall. Standing inside the newly carved riverbed that now separates their houses, everything below their eyes is hidden inside a canyon that stretches the length of six football fields.


"Yeah, we could see it crumbling" Thursday evening, Dailey said Monday. "We could hear it from inside the house, the water flowing, it was so strong."


When the rains ebbed, a 278-foot length of 3rd Avenue was simply gone.


Although the Daileys and the Johnsons, and Hesperia Hose Supply, which now rests on the edge of the 3rd Avenue canyon, have been greatly impacted by the flood, city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said that without the storm drains and the drainage basin, things could have been much worse for many more residents.


"All of that entire section of town west of Hesperia Road would have been impacted more heavily than it was," Malloy said Tuesday. "Imagine in previous years, that water would have been up in the street or in people's yards. It would have been really bad."


Concrete pipes sit stacked at the basin on 4th Avenue, leading some neighbors to conclude that the basin project was never finished.


"Those are actually excess from a different project," said Malloy. "Nor would they be large enough to handle the flow from that excess drainage. ... It's not meant for storm drains; it couldn't have handled the water."


It's also not long enough to divert the run-off from the basin past 3rd Avenue.


"The pipe that's out there is only about 40 feet of pipe," Malloy said. "The piping that will be needed, depending on whatever solution we choose to solve the 3rd Avenue problem, will be about 700 feet."


What, exactly, the city will do about the basin's runoff and the missing roadway is up in the air.


"We don't know time line and cost, because we're looking at three to four different options that are all significantly different," said Malloy. "But we will have a decision as to what we will be doing in the next few weeks."


The city will be diverting 3rd Avenue traffic down 7th Avenue in the meantime.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.