All evacuations were lifted Friday in the wake of the winter storm that triggered flooding in the Lake Elsinore area, but multiple street closures remain in effect due to water pools and other impacts.
The mandatory evacuation that went into effect shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday in neighborhoods ringing Lake Elsinore and within the Temescal Valley, including the Glen Ivy and Horsethief Canyon communities, was converted to a voluntary evacuation warning overnight. As of 7 a.m., all orders and warnings were canceled by the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.
Property owners were assessing the damage from the water, mud and debris flows. Some of the locations hardest hit included Brookstone and Cobblestone lanes just north of Lake Elsinore, Washington Street in the city, as well as along Toft Drive and in the vicinity of Bosley Lane and Colt Drive. That intersection remains closed because of flood damage.
Hard closures were also still in effect along Temescal Canyon Road, between Horsethief Canyon Road and Indian Truck Trail, on Hostetler Road between Bolo Court and Temescal Canyon, and on Grand Avenue, between Amorose and Machado streets, according to the county Department of Transportation.
Runoff from the Cleveland National Forest led streams of water and mud to flow into residential areas abutting the preserve. At one point Thursday afternoon, the rain was falling at a rate of a half-inch per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
On Cobblestone — one of the streets under the mandatory evacuation order — up to 20 residents were temporarily unable to get out of their homes because of flooding. County fire personnel used heavy-duty trucks to retrieve those individuals who wanted to leave out of security concerns. Others elected to “shelter in place” until the storm died down, a fire captain told City News Service.
The precipitation abated about 7 p.m.
Public safety officials told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that due to impacts from the Holy Fire, evacuations in places at the foot of the Cleveland National Forest will likely be a re-occurring theme throughout the winter and into spring, anytime significant rainfall is predicted.
The fire, allegedly the work of an arsonist, scorched roughly 23,000 acres in August and early September. The burn scar, stretching from Santiago Peak in Orange County to the lower slopes in Riverside County, has created a vast denuded space over which water and mud can flow downhill in high volume.