The inland region’s first significant rainstorm of the season could trigger flooding, mud slides and debris flows, especially along the burn-scarred area in the Cleveland National Forest facing Lake Elsinore and Temescal Valley, prompting Riverside County officials Tuesday to issue an evacuation warning to residents.
The county’s Emergency Management Department posted the warning — a recommendation for voluntary relocation, not a mandate — after receiving the latest National Weather Service report on a Pacific trough pushing toward Southern California, expected to start producing rain Wednesday night.
The warning applies to Lake Elsinore residents along Alberhill Ranch Road and Amorose Street, as well as residents on Glen Eden Road south of Corona, the Glen Ivy Hot Springs community, the Horsethief Canyon community and the area around McVicker Park in Lake Elsinore.
More information is available at www.rivcoready.org/.
The burn-scarred slopes — the result of the August Holy Fire that began on the Orange County side of the Cleveland National Forest — are highly susceptible to heavy runoff that could prove damaging, according to county officials.
Multiple community meetings have been held over the last two months to inform residents of the risks and what to do in the event of a big storm. The Holy Fire, allegedly the work of an arsonist, scorched roughly 23,000 acres.
Officials are not anticipating potential flooding in the burn zone created by the 13,000-acre Cranston Fire in the San Jacinto Mountains, in the vicinity of Mountain Center.
The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 1.5 inches of rain in western Riverside County from late Wednesday evening to Thursday morning. A flash flood advisory is in effect for all of Thursday.
A weather service statement noted that the “atmospheric river” will develop off the coast and spread into Southern California on a southeasterly course, packing 30 mph winds. A surface cold front will create further instability, possibly brewing thunderstorms Thursday morning.
“The highest rain rates (will be) Wednesday night into Thursday morning … along the San Bernardino County coastal mountain slopes,” according to a weather service statement.
Snow levels will drop to about 7,000 feet as the system unwinds Thursday. High temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area are forecast to top out in the upper 50s.
Another, weaker system is predicted to roll in Saturday.