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UPDATED: Flash Flood Watch Canceled, Evacuation Remains Open for Area Ravaged by Mountain Fire

Burn areas are "particularly susceptible" to flash floods and debris, according to the NWS.

National Weather Service graphic, July 22, 2013.
National Weather Service graphic, July 22, 2013.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. July 22:

An evacuation center has been established at Idyllwild Elementary School after heavy monsoon rains in the area of the Mountain Fire created the potential for flash floods and debris flows in several locations, Riverside County officials stated in a news release sent just after 7 p.m. Monday:

Residents of Apple Canyon Road, north of Bonita Vista Road, were given precautionary evacuation warnings just after 1 p.m. Monday. The evacuation center opened at the school, 26700 Highway 243, around 5 p.m. for residents who feel threatened by the rain and potential flood and debris flows. By 6 p.m. Monday, no residents had taken advantage of the shelter being open.

The evacuation warning is expected to remain in place until after conditions improve and the center, staffed by the American Red Cross, will remain open at least through Tuesday morning. Residents with questions about the shelter can call (855) 891-7325 overnight.

Trees, rocks and other debris can easily be washed downstream when rain follows a fire. Debris in canyons south of Palm Canyon may contain significant debris that shifts water flows away from normal paths. Residents along S. Palm Canyon Drive south of Bogert Trail should pay particular attention and take precautions to avoid potential flood waters and debris flows. Residents should not try to halt or divert debris carried by flood waters.

UPDATE 5:48 p.m. July 22:

A flash flood warning and then watch that was affecting areas such as those recently ravaged by the Mountain Fire near Idyllwild have both been canceled.

As of 5:37 p.m. Monday, the flash flood watch remained in effect for the Apple and Lucerne valleys only, according to the National Weather Service.

UPDATE 2:07 p.m. July 22: The Riverside County Fire Department has issued an evacuation warning for residents in the area of Apple Canyon Road, north of Bonita Vista Road near Mountain Center, because of possible flash flooding in areas that were burned in the Mountain Fire.

Officials are recommending that those concerned about their safety should leave.

The message from the National Weather Service:


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED FLASH FLOOD WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO CA 136 PM PDT MON JUL 22 2013 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN DIEGO HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...   SOUTH CENTRAL RIVERSIDE COUNTY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA...

* UNTIL 430 PM PDT.

* AT 125 PM PDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED   A STRONG THUNDERSTORM FORMING OVER THE ANZA AREA WITH THE   POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE FLASH FLOODING. RADAR ESTIMATES RAINFALL   RATES OF CLOSE TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR FROM THIS THUNDERSTORM. *

ADDITIONAL AREAS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE AGUANGA. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS...COUNTRY ROADS...AS WELL AS FARMLAND ALONG THE BANKS OF CREEKS AND STREAMS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

Additionally, a flash flood watch is in effect until 9 p.m. Monday:

..FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR THE MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS THROUGH THIS
EVENING...

.A MONSOONAL AIR MASS REMAINS ENTRENCHED ACROSS SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA. SLOW-MOVING THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY SHOWERS WILL
CONTINUE TO DEVELOP OVER THE MOUNTAINS THROUGH EARLY THIS
EVENING...CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT WITH A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR FLASH
FLOODING. RECENT BURN SCARS...SUCH AS THE MOUNTAIN FIRE AND
CHARIOT FIRE SCARS...ARE HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO DEBRIS FLOWS FROM
EVEN BRIEF HEAVY RAINFALL.

   ---

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS-
SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-APPLE AND LUCERNE VALLEYS-
COACHELLA VALLEY-SAN DIEGO COUNTY DESERTS-

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM PDT THIS
EVENING...

THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR

* A PORTION OF SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING
  AREAS...APPLE AND LUCERNE VALLEYS...COACHELLA VALLEY...
  RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS...SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS...
  SAN DIEGO COUNTY DESERTS AND SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS.

* UNTIL 9 PM PDT THIS EVENING.

* SLOW-MOVING THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP OVER THE MOUNTAINS THROUGH EARLY EVENING...PRODUCING HEAVY RAINFALL WITH A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR FLASH FLOODING.

* THE FLASH FLOOD GUIDANCE VALUES ARE THREE TENTHS OF AN INCH OF
  RAINFALL IN 30 MINUTES OR HALF AN INCH IN AN HOUR FOR THE NEW
  BURN AREAS. ANY THUNDERSTORMS IN THE BURN AREAS COULD EASILY PRODUCE THIS AMOUNT OF RAINFALL. MUD AND DEBRIS FLOWS ARE LIKELY FROM THUNDERSTORMS MOVING THROUGH RECENT BURN AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.


ORIGINAL POST 1:05 p.m. July 22:

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning today for the area where a more than 27,000-acre brush fire has been burning for a week.

The warning, which will remain in effect until 2:30 p.m., covers central Riverside County, including Mount San Jacinto and the Idyllwild area. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms were developing in the area, according to the NWS.

Burn areas are "particularly susceptible" to flash floods and debris, according to the NWS. Residents and motorists should watch for mud and debris, which could block roads, and "potentially dangerous flooding and property loss could result in areas where runoff is restricted or blocked," the Weather Service noted.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, firefighting efforts would be adjusted to ensure firefighters' safety in potential flood areas. The Mountain Fire is about 70 percent contained and is expected to be fully contained Wednesday, according to the Forest Service.

—City News Service






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