Valley News -

Looming storm could cause flooding


Last updated 1/13/2019 at 2:29pm

RIVERSIDE - A wet week is ahead with forecasters expecting a storm to dump rain and snow beginning on Monday all across the Southland, including the Inland Empire, where they warn the showers could trigger flooding, especially in fire-scarred areas.

The Pacific storm will move over coastal areas on Monday morning and make its way inland by the afternoon to evening hours, according to the National Weather Service.

That's when some of the heaviest rain is expected to fall, with up to one and a half inches predicted to drop in the valleys and up to three-quarters of an inch in the deserts by the end of the day, meteorologists said.

"This is capable of producing urban flooding and debris flows over recent burn scars,'' the NWS said.

The agency said it may issue a flash flood warning for Monday, depending on how well their weather models hold up.

A wide area skirting the eastern boundary 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.

Rains on Dec. 6 resulted in significant flooding and mud flows into several neighborhoods, prompting street closures and evacuations. However, there was no major damage to homes.

If 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.

A Winter Storm Watch was also in place through Tuesday morning for Riverside County mountains, including the Idyllwild and Pine Cove area.

The snow level will drop to 5,000 feet on Monday, with areas above 7,000 feet expected to see eight to 12 inches of snow, according to meteorologists.

The NWS said strong winds of up to 40 mph, dense fog, and heavy snowfall will contribute to "treacherous conditions'' at altitudes over 5,000 feet during the duration of the Winter Storm Watch.

"If you do not have chains, you will not be permitted to go through the mountain areas if chain control is active,'' Caltrans officials said.

The storm cell could weaken on Tuesday but regain strength on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning more heavy precipitation, according to forecasters.


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