Rain showers let up Wednesday across Riverside County, but heavier precipitation was in the forecast during the overnight hours through Thursday, raising the prospect of flash flooding in areas ringing the Cleveland National Forest.
A Flash Flood Watch was in effect for most of the Inland Empire until Thursday afternoon.
“Widespread rain, heavy at times, will develop tonight and especially Thursday,” according to the National Weather Service. “Amounts will be impressive on the south and southwest slopes of the mountains. Rainfall rates of one-half to one inch in one hour are possible.”
The Riverside County Emergency Management Department maintained voluntary evacuation warnings for neighborhoods throughout the Temescal Valley and just north and west of Lake Elsinore, including Amorose, Alberhill, Glen Ivy, Glen Eden, Grace, Horsethief Canyon, Maitri, McVicker, Rice and Withrow.
The agency added the Alvarado and Laguna “B” zones to the evacuation warning list Wednesday afternoon, based on the prospect of major runoff, mud and debris flows.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the Laguna “A” zone.
Each impacted community lies along the eastern boundary of the national forest, where the 23,000-acre Holy Fire in August denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.
More information is available at www.rivcoready.org .
Rains on Dec. 6 resulted in significant flooding and mud flows into several neighborhoods, prompting street closures and evacuations. However, there was no major damage to homes.
In a 48-hour period ending at 7 a.m., rainfall totals included 1.07 inches at the Riverside Municipal Airport, 1.22 inches in Temecula, 1.46 inches in Murrieta, .90 of an inch at the Palm Springs International Airport, 1.03 inches in Beaumont and .89 of an inch in Idyllwild, according to the NWS.
Meteorologists said that the rain wave over the next 24 hours will be followed by high winds in some locations, with gusts up to 65 mph Thursday afternoon.
Snow levels are expected to remain above 8,500 feet.
A warm dry spell will develop next week, according to the Weather Service.
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