Valley News -

Flash flood watch issued for areas in and around Holy Fire burn area

Rain forecast through weekend


Last updated 1/31/2019 at 9:09am

RIVERSIDE - Rainy weather is forecast for the Inland Empire later this week, with heavy downpours possible in some locations, raising the risk of flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

At 12:33 p.m. the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills in and around the Holy Fire burn scar area.

According to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department, rain is anticipated over the Holy Fire and Cranston Fire burn areas in the next 48-72 hours and residents in these areas should "Get Ready" now for potential evacuations.

Forecasters said two systems dropping out of the Gulf of Alaska will make landfall in Southern California in quick succession, the first arriving Thursday.

The upper-level trough will usher in colder temperatures and atmospheric instability, with precipitation amounts varying from a tenth of an inch in the deserts to an inch closer to the coast.

"Heavier showers and thunderstorms could create locally higher amounts,'' according to the NWS. "Isolated flash flooding is possible over slow-moving heavy showers and thunderstorms.''

Multiple neighborhoods fell under mandatory evacuation orders at intervals between Jan. 14-17, when a storm series triggered locally intense downpours, resulting in a number of street closures. Mud and debris flows, however, did not cause any serious damage to residential properties.

A wide area skirting the eastern side of the national forest, bordering Lake Elsinore and the Temescal Valley, was left exposed to potential flood damage because of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire last 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.

According to the Weather Service, the disturbance that will envelop the region Thursday into Friday will be succeeded by a "deeper, broader'' low-pressure system Saturday. Forecasters indicated the inclement weather will canvass most of the state, though it was too early to tell where the precipitation may be heaviest.

Snow levels will linger above 7,000 feet Thursday and Friday, with accumulations between 3 and 5 inches, and they're expected to drop to 5,000 feet by Saturday night, according to the NWS.

High temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area will hover in the low 60s Thursday to Sunday, while Coachella Valley communities will be closer to 70 degrees during the same period, meteorologists said.

For more information about local flood watches, visit or call (951) 358-5134.


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