Valley News -

Officials track storm bearing down on region, but no evacuations expected


Last updated 1/4/2019 at 3:36pm

RIVERSIDE - A rainstorm that's forecast to take a swipe at the Inland Empire Saturday is not likely to pack enough energy to cause flooding and other hazards, Riverside County officials said, but they urged residents in some areas to remain vigilant and take precautions as needed.

"Based on National Weather Service forecasts, the rain predicted for this weekend is not expected to produce debris flows,'' according to the county Emergency Management Department. "Public safety officials will continue to monitor incoming storms. Residents are urged to always take personal responsibility for their safety.''

The National Weather Service said that a cold trough of low pressure will drag moisture into the region from the northwest Saturday afternoon, with scattered showers possible. Forecasters said heavier rain will develop Saturday night into the predawn hours Sunday, dropping anywhere from a half to three-quarters of an inch in Lake Elsinore and the Riverside metropolitan area.

The NWS did not anticipate issuing a flood watch, but meteorologists said a Winter Weather Advisory may be needed as snow levels drop to around 5,000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Riverside County public safety personnel are slated to monitor key points throughout the Temescal Valley and around Lake Elsinore, abutting the Cleveland National Forest, where mud and debris flows remain a risk whenever there's appreciable rainfall.

Multiple neighborhoods were evacuated and roads shut down when the last winter storm hit on Dec. 6.

December's flood waters raged down Hostetler and Temescal Canyon roads, as well as Brookstone and Cobblestone lanes, just north of Lake Elsinore. Several residents on Brookstone requested fire department utility trucks to ferry them to higher ground as waters pushed mud and forest debris onto their street. Lawns were left filthy and water-logged, but there was no major damage to properties.

A wide area skirting the foot of the Cleveland National Forest was left exposed to potential flood and mud damage because of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire in August. The blaze, allegedly the work of an arsonist, denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.

Riverside County contracted with two engineering firms in October to build spillway diversions and erect protective barriers to prevent overflows from damaging public rights of way and communities in unincorporated areas. The work is ongoing.

When precipitation is expected to result in storm-related hazards, the Emergency Management Department may issue voluntary evacuation orders. The agency posts mandatory orders when threats are confirmed.

More information is available at


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