Valley News -

Fire weather still threatening Riverside County


Last updated 10/16/2018 at 10:30am

RIVERSIDE - Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and warm temperatures will persist today, with a red flag fire warning denoting a strong risk of wildfire in effect for the Riverside County mountains and the adjoining foothills.

Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 20 to 30 mph in the forecast and gusts near 55 mph possible over the Santa Ana Mountains, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index. Humidity was expected to drop to around 10 percent today as well.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that went into effect at 3 a.m. Monday in the Riverside County mountains and valleys as well as the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest. The warning was set to expire at 8 p.m. tonight.

No advisories were issued for the Coachella Valley or the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning.

According to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, "While recent rains have reduced the risk for significant fire in most areas, it has not been eliminated.''

Fuels will still be dry enough to support rapid spread of flames should ignition occur, according to the wildfire threat index.

Warm seasonal temperatures were also expected to add to the potential fire danger. High temperatures today will be 78 to 84 degrees in Riverside and 71 to 79 in Temecula, NWS forecasters said.

High winds triggered power outages in multiple Riverside County locations Monday and initially left more than 12,500 Southern California Edison customers in the region without electricity. The biggest power outage occurred in Idyllwild around 12:10 p.m. Monday affecting 11,500 customers, the utility reported.

As of 12:20 a.m., 3,883 customers remained without electricity and power was expected to be restored by 3 p.m. today, the utility reported.

Outages were also reported in Jurupa Valley, initially affecting 700 customers, and Hemet, affecting just under 500 customers, according to Edison.

As of 1:20 a.m., 46 customers from the Jurupa Valley outage remained without power and all customers from the Hemet outage had their power restored.

High winds also caused a tractor-trailer to overturn Monday on the Pomona (60) Freeway and blocked all westbound lanes in Jurupa Valley.

The crash happened about 11:20 a.m. Monday just east of the Pedley Road exit ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol, which reported that the big rig was "blown over'' as wind speeds topped 40 mph on the east-west corridor.

The trucker was treated for minor injuries by paramedics but apparently declined to be transported to a hospital, according to reports from the scene.

Winds were predicted to gradually decrease this afternoon, and conditions will be warm and sunny the remainder of the week, NWS forecasters said.


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