Valley News -

Heavy rainfall leaves mess in Riverside County, scattered showers expected

Temecula leads area with 5.78 inches of rain on Thursday


Last updated 2/15/2019 at 9:56am

Shane Gibson photo

Crews work at clearing debris from a flooded wash along Alvarado St in Lake Elsinore, Feb. 14.

RIVERSIDE - Scattered showers are expected in Riverside County on Friday, Feb. 15 following a powerful storm that caused flooding that left a homeless woman dead in Corona, threatened a home in Lake Elsinore and prompted evacuation orders around recent burn areas.

In Lake Elsinore, water raged through a flood-control channel Thursday, washing away a shed alongside a large home, with a woman who was trying to remove items from the structure narrowly escaping before it fell into the raging water, witnesses said.

The flowing water also threatened the integrity of the home, but it remained standing. A brick wall facing the flood channel behind the home next door was not as lucky. It tumbled into the flowing channel, and the roof of another building collapsed as the water raged.

A series of weak, low-pressure systems will bring periodic showers until Monday, with the best chance for rain tonight and Sunday afternoon through Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory remains in effect for the Riverside County mountains until 4 a.m. Saturday.

The Riverside metropolitan area and Lake Elsinore are expected to get around one-tenth of an inch of rain today while around four-tenths of an inch is expected in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and Idyllwild could see around seven-tenths of an inch.

As of 2 a.m., Live Oak Canyon had the highest precipitation total over the last two days, with 9.77 inches, followed by 9.12 inches near Mount San Jacinto, 8.90 above 5,400 feet in Idyllwild and 3.55 inches near the Banning Bench, according to the NWS.

In the county valleys, Temecula received 5.78 inches of rain; Cabazon had 5.46 inches; 5.23 inches fell in Lake Elsinore; 3.96 in Murrieta; 2.80 in Hemet and 2.74 in the Riverside metropolitan area.

Precipitation totals in the Coachella Valley included 3.70 inches in Palm Springs; 3.63 in Cathedral Canyon; 2.36 in Palm Desert; 1.62 in Thousand Palms and 1.37 in Indio.

The heavy rainfall left a mess in its wake.

A homeless woman died Thursday when she and her boyfriend, who were trying to escape the rain by huddling in a concrete stormwater channel in Riverside, were swept away by the growing flow of runoff. They became separated as they floated downstream, and while the man was pulled from the water by rescue crews in Corona, the woman was found unconscious a short time later in full cardiac arrest, authorities said.

She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Riverside County Emergency Management Department had issued mandatory evacuation orders for the residential areas impacted by the Holy Fire, but with the storm passing Thursday night those warnings were downgraded to voluntary.

Voluntary evacuation warnings remain in place for the Amorose, Alberhill, Alvarado-A, Alvarado-B, Alvarado-C, Glen Ivy-A, Glen Ivy-B, Glen Eden, Grace, Horsethief-A, Horsethief-B, Laguna-A, Laguna-B, Lakeside-A, Lakeside-B, Lakeside-C, Maitri, McVicker-A, McVicker-B, Rice and Withrow-A neighborhoods.

All of the affected properties front the burn scar areas from the 23,000-acre Holy Fire within the Cleveland National Forest.

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.

Voluntary evacuation warnings also remain in place 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.

Care and reception centers were established at Idyllwild School, 26700 Highway 243, and Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road, in Anza.

The arson fire left properties exposed to mud and debris flows, during which "boulders and trees (may come) crashing down hillsides,'' according to an EMD statement.

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.


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