Valley News -

Heavy rain, flooding hammers southwest Riverside County


Last updated 2/18/2019 at 3:27pm

Shane Gibson photo

Heavy rain floods a neighborhood along Alvarado Street in Lake Elsinore, Feb. 14.

Update: Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

The Riverside County Emergency Management Department has downgraded evacuation orders for most of the zones near the Holy Fire burn scar area to voluntary as of 5:45 p.m.

Residents of the following neighborhoods were ordered to leave: Alberhill, Alvarado-C, Glen Eden, Glen Ivy-A and B, Grace, Horsethief-A and B, Laguna-A, Laguna-B, Lakeside-C, Maitri, McVicker-A, McVicker-B, and Rice are now under voluntary evacuation orders.

Amorose, Withrow-A, and Laguna-A remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

County officials urged residents to check maps at to determine if they are in an evacuation area.

Residents can also sign up for emergency alert notifications via the website.

Update: Feb. 14, 5:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service said the flood warning for Riverside County was allowed to expire at 5:15 p.m. The NWS reports the widespread, heavy rain has ended, with only residual light to moderate rain occurring over the mountains and parts of the desert.

Flooding is no longer expected to pose a significant threat, but people should remain alert for residual standing water in poorly drained locales this evening.

The City of Temecula indicated that the Old Town Front Street and Temecula Parkway road closure has been lifted and that roads at Nicolas and Liefer roads "have been compromised" affecting about 50 residences. Fire personnel and Public Works are on the scene with a contractor working to fix the road.

Update: Feb. 14, 4 p.m.

Reports of damage to homes threatened by flooding in Lake Elsinore communities are being reported.

City council member Natasha Johnson went live on the city's Facebook account on Thursday, imploring residents located in mandatory evacuation zones to please leave their residences.

"As you can see behind me, part of the room of this home has come down, the foundation couldn't support the weight of the roof," Johnson said in the video. "Listen to the warnings and please be safe."

The Temecula Police Department reported that Old Town Front Street and Temecula was closed at 1 p.m.

The Murrieta Police Department reported that Murrieta Hot Springs was closed from Jackson to Winchester due to flooding, but was reopened a few hours later. There was also a power outage that the agency reported on the west side of Murrieta around 11 a.m.

The City of Wildomar reported road closures within the city's limits. Included in the notice was Almond St. between Walnut St. and Canyon Dr., McVicar St. between Palomar St. and Grand Ave., and Corydon St. between Mission Trail and Palomar St.

Update: Feb. 14, 2 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning for Riverside County until 5 p.m.

Throughout the day, fire departments were called to several incidents involving people stranded in fast-moving water or unable to escape water that had surrounded them.

A patient was reported stranded in Temecula Creek early Thursday, according to CalFire Riverside. A rescue team using a boat recovered the patient who was transported to a local hospital.

Three vehicles with a total of five passengers became stranded near Matthews and Ethanac Roads in Menifee, requiring boat rescue. None of the motorists needed medical attention.

In the early afternoon, a Cal Fire helicopter crew has been summoned to perform a hoist rescue on the west end of the golf course at the Soboba Resort in San Jacinto, where four people are stranded amid fast-moving flood waters, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Witnesses called 911, and a Cal Fire helicopter crew based at nearby Hemet-Ryan Airport performed a hoist rescue during which each of the stranded parties was lifted to safety, according to the fire department.

The operation was completed by 1:30 p.m.

Caltrans District 8 spokeswoman Terri Kasinga says at least three sections of state Route 243 between Banning and Idyllwild have been compromised because of storm runoff, and transportation engineers are now inspecting a fourth section that also may be on the verge of collapse.

The mountain highway is closed to through traffic and likely will be for the rest of the month, Kasinga says. Riverside County officials are urging residents in Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cover to shelter in place due to the "deteriorating road conditions'' in the area.

Information on road closures and evacuation notices are included in the original story below.

This is a breaking news story that will be updated as information becomes available.

Original Story:

The brunt of a powerful storm hit southwest Riverside County on Thursday, Feb. 14, causing a flash flooding warning until 11:45 a.m., road closures, as well as mud and debris flows while mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for neighborhoods in Lake Elsinore and the Temescal Valley.

The Riverside County Emergency Management Department has posted mandatory evacuation orders since Tuesday afternoon.

All of the affected properties front the burn scar areas from the 23,000-acre Holy Fire within the Cleveland National Forest. Residents of the following neighborhoods were ordered to leave: Amorose, Alberhill, Glen Eden, Glen Ivy-A & B, Grace, Horsethief-A & B, Laguna-A, Maitri, McVicker- A, McVicker-B, Rice and Withrow-A.

In Lake Elsinore, school closures at Rice Canyon and Withrow Elementary schools remained in effect on Valentines Day.

According to authorities, road closures in the area include:

- Grand Avenue at McVicker Canyon Road, Lake Elsinore

- Cambern Avenue from 10th Street to Cambern Avenue, Lake Elsinore

- Mountain Avenue at Avocado, Lake Elsinore

- Camino Del Norte at south of 2nd Street, Lake Elsinore

- Machado at 'Channel' in Lake Elsinore

- Corydon from Mission Trail to Palomar, Lake Elsinore

- De Portola Road at Pauba Road, Temecula

- Pala-Pechanga Road at Deer Hollow, Temecula

- Leon Road between Domenigoni and Olive in the Hemet area

- Pala Road between Pechanga and San Diego County line in the Temecula area

- Temescal Canyon Road was closed

- Joseph Road between Nicolas and Finbrook in Temecula

- Temescal Canyon Road is closed between Glen Ivy Road and Squaw Mountain Road

- Grand Avenue between Machado and Patrick in the Lake Elsinore area

- Garbani Road, Antelope and Champagne in Menifee

- Bradley Road, between Potomac and Rio Vista (Salt Creek) in Menifee

- Murrieta Road at Salt Creek in Menifee

- Normandy Road between Berea and La Ladera in Menifee

- Matthews Road at Palomar and Menifee Road

- Garbani Road at Murrieta Road in Menifee

- Cherry hills at Gross Pointe and Pebble Beach Drive in Menifee

- Sun City Blvd at Ridgemoor and Pebble Beach Drive in Menifee

- Ridgemoor between Waverly and Murrieta Road

Please use caution when driving in low-lying areas.

A wide area skirting the eastern boundary of the Cleveland National Forest was left exposed to potential flood damage because of the Holy Fire, which denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.

Jeff Pack photo

Murrieta Creek as seen from the Main Street bridge in Old Town Temecula on Thursday, Feb. 14.

A care and reception center has been established at Temescal Canyon High School, 28755 El Toro Road, Lake Elsinore.

Evacuation warnings are also in effect for areas impacted by the 13,000-acre Cranston Fire in August, including the Apple Canyon, Fleming Ranch, Hurkey Creek and Strawberry Creek communities. The areas generally parallel state Routes 74 and 243 between Lake Hemet and Idyllwild, where the fire consumed large swaths of wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest.

A care and reception center has been established at Idyllwild School, 26700 Highway 243.

This is a breaking news story that will update as more information becomes available.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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