The first winter storm of the season spawned heavy downpours and strong winds Tuesday that left roads a mess in some parts of Riverside County, as well as causing other hazards.

The fast-moving trough of low pressure began its race across the region during the overnight hours, ushering in light rainfall that soon developed into powerful rain bursts, backed by stiff winds.

The Riverside County Transportation Department reported two storm-related road closures in unincorporated areas, both in Cherry Valley — Avenida Miravilla, between Orchard Street and Vineland Avenue, and Brookside Avenue, between Bellflower Avenue and Cherry Avenue.

There were no hard freeway closures as a result of the harsh weather, though lanes on all the major arteries — the Riverside (91) Freeway, the Moreno Valley (60) Freeway, Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 — were impacted at different times, causing disruptions, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The connector bridge from the eastbound 91 to the northbound Corona (71) Expressway was closed Tuesday afternoon due to flooding, according to the CHP. At least one freeway exit ramp, at Arlington Avenue from the 91 in Riverside, was also shut down due to flooding.

Numerous accidents occurred on the freeways throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, but most were skid-outs in rain-saturated lanes, and none involved major injuries, according to authorities.

On Paradise Canyon Drive, in Menifee, a tree toppled onto a house during high winds, causing damage but not injuring anyone inside, according to reports from the scene.

Riverside County Fire Department crews were sent to secure sites where power lines had fallen in several locations, and in a few cases, crews removed trees from roads.

SoCal Eidson reported storm-related power outages in Hemet and Murrieta, but the number of people impacted and the status of repairs were not available.

According to Caltrans District 8, mud and rock obstructions occurred near Beaumont, in Cherry Valley, south of Hemet and in the vicinity of Perris. No injuries were reported in connection with the slides, and the depth of damage was unclear.

As of 2 p.m., the heaviest rainstorm cells had passed through the Riverside metropolitan area and were bound for the mountains surrounding the San Gorgonio Pass. However, additional downpours were expected late into the night.

Inland areas west of the Riverside County mountains could see up to 1.5 inches of rain, while the low desert could see between a quarter- to a half-inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency said a flood watch was in effect until 9 p.m. for most of western Riverside County, and a wind advisory was also in effect until midnight.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” the NWS said.

Concerns about flooding prompted Riverside County officials to issue an evacuation warning Monday evening for select areas near the 2020 Apple Fire burn area north of Beaumont and Banning.

The warnings affect the Marshall C, Mias A, Portrero A and Noble A zones. Detailed information about evacuation warnings was available online at rivcoready.org/activeevents.

County officials also worked to relocate homeless people out of the Santa Ana river bottom, which consistently floods during heavy precipitation.

A winter weather watch went into effect Monday night through Tuesday evening for mountain areas above 6,000 feet, which forecasters said could see total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches. Areas above 7,000 feet could see the most significant snowfall, with up to 24 inches, the NWS said.

The storm will sweep through Southern California before exiting to the east in the predawn hours Wednesday, with periods of damaging winds across the region, according to the NWS.

Chilly temperatures will persist throughout the week, with the possibility of additional light showers late Thursday into Friday, forecasters said.

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