Fears that heavy rains will trigger mud and debris flows that could clog roads and cause other damage in several Corona neighborhoods prompted public safety officials Wednesday to order evacuations.
“Do not delay evacuating until the rain becomes severe,” Corona Fire Department spokeswoman Gina Moran-McGough said. “Debris flows can occur without any notice and evacuation routes can quickly become impassable.”
The city’s mandatory evacuation order, effective at 6 p.m., applies to virtually all of the same locations impacted by flooding when a major winter storm series struck in early January.
According to officials, residences on the southern end of Canyon Crest Drive, along Bulrush Circle, Elderberry Circle, Goldenbush Drive, Hidden Hills Way, Oakridge Drive, San Ponte Road and Wilderness Drive are all under the evacuation decree.
The neighborhoods sit at the foot of the Cleveland National Forest, where the 2,600-acre Canyon Fire burned vegetation and denuded hillsides in September. The barren, fire-ravaged spaces now serve as water pooling zones that spillways threatening the residential areas.
The American Red Cross is preparing temporary shelter space, but for the time being, residents are on their own in finding lodging, according to city officials. Pets can be temporarily housed at the Corona Animal Shelter at 1330 Magnolia Ave.
Intense rainstorms are predicted Wednesday evening and into Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
A flash flood watch is in effect from 11 p.m. to an unspecified hour Thursday night.
Rainfall rates could reach up to an inch per hour at different intervals, according to the NWS. Total rainfall is predicted to range between four and seven inches, meteorologists said.
The Corona, Hemet, Riverside, Murrieta and Riverside County fire departments are offering sandbags to residents seeking to shore up their properties.
Forecasters said a low-pressure system bearing down on the region, fueled by subtropical moisture, will produce the winter-like rain event, which will make a slow exit Friday morning.
Temperatures will remain moderate, keeping snow levels near mountain tops.
Desert areas will not receive the volume of precipitation expected along the coasts and in some inland locations.
Rain should reach the Coachella Valley on Thursday morning, with meteorologists forecasting moderate storm activity.
–City News Service
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