A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.
A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.


An evacuation order was lifted Wednesday for most of the residential areas in southwest Corona that were under threat from mudslides and flooding during the first winter storm to lash the region.

According to the Corona Emergency Services Department, most of the properties affected by the mandatory evacuation that went into effect shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday have been deemed safe for residents to return, though city officials said homes on San Alvarado Circle and San Ramon Drive remain inaccessible due to hazardous conditions. The evacuation order still applies to those streets.

About 150 homes were in the hazard zone, encompassing Bulrush Circle, Canyon Crest Drive, Diamond View Street, Elderberry Circle, Hidden Hills Way, Oakridge Drive, Sageleaf Circle, Saltbush Circle, San Alameda Road, San Ponte Road, San Sebastian Circle, San Viscaya Circle, Star Canyon Circle and Wilderness Drive.

The impacted properties are situated on the perimeter of the Cleveland National Forest, at the extreme southwest end of the city, where the Canyon Fire broke out in September, blackening 2,600 acres before it was contained. It was followed two weeks later by Canyon Fire 2, which mainly impacted Anaheim Hills in Orange County.

Several streets flooded and were left caked with mud, and clean-up was continuing.

“The city has efforts underway to remove the mud from the roadways, as well as from all of the pre-storm preparation areas such as debris basins (and) culverts to prepare them for the next winter storm,” said Emergency Services Coordinator Gina Moran. “These efforts will occur for several days.”

She emphasized that this was the first storm of the winter season, and now “hillsides will remain more susceptible than normal to mudflow and flash flooding.”

Police officers and firefighters deployed Tuesday throughout several neighborhoods, using bullhorns and sirens to alert residents to the need to evacuate, after the National Weather Service issued a warning that mud and debris flows were likely as heavy rains developed.

A voluntary evacuation had been called in the hazard zone Monday, advising residents of the need to find alternate lodgings as the winter storm intensified.

A temporary evacuation center was established at Corona High School, 1150 W. 10th St., but was closed Wednesday afternoon.

The hillsides stripped bare by the original blaze were considered at greatest risk of heavy storm runoff, endangering the houses surrounding the slopes, officials said.

More information is available here: CoronaCA.gov/StormWatch.

–City News Service

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