Evacuation orders remain in San Bernardino County as it deals with mud, debris flows

Forecasters are predicting drier weather after Tropical Storm Kay battered parts of Southern California on Monday, with intense thunderstorms leading to heavy rain, flash flooding and mudslides in several Inland Empire communities near recent fire areas.

Evacuation orders remained in effect Tuesday morning for some residents in Oak Glen and Forest Falls in San Bernardino County because of the threat of mudslides and debris that affected about 50 homes, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said. At Redlands East Valley High School at 31000 E. Colton Ave. an evacuation center was set up in Redlands.

Oak Glen and Forest Falls are communities near El Dorado and Apple burn scars.

According to a San Bernardino County Fire Department post on Facebook, more than 40 firefighters, including several heavy equipment operators and other personnel, searched Forest Hills Monday and found downed power lines, leaking propane tanks, damaged buildings and roads buried in mud and debris. The Potato Canyon Road and Oak Glen Road area of ​​Oak Glen were also hit by downpours and mudslides.

Photos and video from the areas show mudslides several meters high, parts of houses that have collapsed, an overturned car covered in mud, streams gushing with water, and roads covered in rocks and debris.

Elizabeth Schenk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, said some areas in the Apple and El Dorado burn scar area received more than 2 inches of rain per hour.

“That was pretty remarkable,” said Schenk. Strawberry Creek, located in the area of ​​the burn scars, received the highest rainfall Monday, with 2.88 inches of rain. Several other locations recorded more than an inch of rain.

No injuries or missing residents were reported Monday, but crews were keep looking the areas for casualties and other dangerous consequences of the flooding, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said on Facebook.

The sheriff’s department had no additional updates as of Tuesday morning. The San Bernardino County Fire Department could not be reached for comment.

Both the state road 38 and State Road 18 reopened early Tuesday morning after parts of each street were shut down by storm damage Monday night, according to Caltrans District 8 social media posts.

Flooding has also hit Riverside County, with KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporting that at least two vehicles were stranded when a section of Chicago Avenue was flooded. The video showed people in the Perris area standing on the roof of their car when their vehicle stalled in a sudden flow of mud.

Residual moisture from Tropical Storm Kay, which churned off the coast of Southern California last week and was the region’s hardest hit by a tropical storm in 25 years, contributed to the formation of the storms.

Tuesday is expected to be milder, with only isolated storms and no widespread flash flooding, said Greg Martin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

“Today is a calm day and we should see less than yesterday,” Martin said, adding that Tuesday’s storms will be less frequent, lighter and at higher elevations. “This is the end of this active period.”

Isolated thunderstorms could develop around noon and extend into the early afternoon over the mountains of San Bernardino and Riverside County. The high desert areas, including Victorville and Hesperia, and most of the eastern parts of the Inland Empire could also experience some storms. There are no flash flood monitors or warnings, Martin said, adding that flash floods should be isolated incidents.

There is an “outside chance” that storms could roll over Oak Glen and Forest Falls on Tuesday, but any rainfall should be less heavy than Monday, said Brandt Maxwell, a weather forecaster with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

Andrew Rorke, a senior weather forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said a couple of storms rained on parts of Los Angeles County on Monday, including some localized flooding in Antelope Valley. There is a slight chance of storms in the LA County mountains and Antelope Valley from early afternoon through early evening, although they should be less intense than in recent days. “The drying trend continues,” Rorke said.

Last week, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center estimated that the La Niña climate pattern, likely contributing to the unrelenting drought in the US Southwest, could continue into November.

While La Niña points to a drier-than-normal winter, California may escape its fate, Rorke said.

“If we’re lucky, we can roll the seven,” Rorke said.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-13/southern-california-mudslides-debris-tropical-storm-kay Evacuation orders remain in San Bernardino County as it deals with mud, debris flows

Alley Einstein

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