RIVERSIDE (CNS) - The first of three storms predicted to sweep through
the Inland Empire in quick succession will hit the region today, producing
showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.
The anticipated rain had prompted county officials to issue a
voluntary evacuation order late Wednesday for select areas near the recent Holy
Fire burn area.
That order was upgraded after daybreak Thursday to a mandatory
evacuation order in the following zones: Amorose, Alberhill (Pacific Clay),
Glen Eden, Glen Ivy-A, Glen Ivy-B, Grace, Horsethief-A, Laguna-A, Maitri
(Quarry), McVicker-A, Rice and Withrow-A.
County officials urged residents to check maps at
www.RivCoReady.org/StormReady to determine if they are in an evacuation area.
Forecasters said a low pressure system rotating south from the Gulf of
Alaska will make landfall this morning, though significant precipitation
isn't likely until the afternoon.
Temperatures will peak in the low 60s in the Riverside metropolitan
area, with rain amounts generally less than an inch, according to the Weather
The ``fast-moving'' system will exit to the east tonight, with showers
lingering into Friday morning, the NWS stated.
Meteorologists said a second Pacific trough will dominate Southern
California late Friday night to Saturday night.
``This will be a larger and slower-moving system, and more widespread
and heavier precipitation is expected, along with periods of strong gusty
southwest to west winds,'' according to the NWS. ``Snow levels will lower to
around 5,500 feet for Saturday afternoon and evening, with snowfall totals
exceeding one foot possible above 7,000 feet.''
Highs in the Riverside metropolitan area will hover in the upper 50s,
while daytime temperatures in Coachella Valley communities will be in the low
60s, according to forecasters.
Rainfall in western Riverside County Saturday could range from 1 to 3
inches, while the deserts may receive 1 to 1.5 inches. Isolated locally heavy
downpours are possible, and flash flood warnings may be issued, according to
the Weather Service.
The final storm in the series is anticipated Sunday night into Monday,
but ``it is not expected to be as strong as the storm on Saturday,'' the
Multiple neighborhoods fell under mandatory evacuation orders at
intervals between Jan. 14 and Jan. 17, when a storm series triggered locally
intense downpours, resulting in a number of street closures. Mud and debris
flows, however, did not cause any serious damage to residential properties.
A wide area skirting the eastern side of the national forest,
bordering Lake Elsinore and the Temescal Valley, was left exposed to potential
flood damage because of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire in August. The blaze,
allegedly the work of an arsonist, denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak,
permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are