Floods, traffic accidents as winter rainfall douses Southwest Riverside County

A map from the National Weather Service shows rainfall totals for Southwest Riverside County over a 24-hour period. Courtesy photo.

Southwest Riverside County was hammered by its first big winter storm of the season Jan. 8 and Jan. 9, and that storm brought with it flooding, downed power lines and traffic accidents.

The storm, which deposited as much as 3 inches of rainfall on some areas within a 24-hour period, spurred a flash flood warning which was expected to remain in place through 10 p.m. Tuesday for both the San Bernardino and Riverside County valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain didn’t just bring noticeable flooding throughout the area, but also toppled power lines and was a factor in traffic accidents Tuesday.

In one of those accidents, two cars ended up in flood waters on the side Interstate 15 in Temecula, but no one was injured.

The incident happened about 11:40 a.m. on the northbound lanes of the freeway just north of Rancho California Road, according to California Highway Patrol Office Mike Lassig.

Lassig said the female driver of a Kia sedan was driving in one lane at approximately 50 mph when a pickup truck traveling between 65-70 mph ended up colliding with left side of the Kia, causing both vehicles to lose control, spin across traffic lanes and down a slight dirt embankment.

The Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department was called to cut a chain link fence along the side of the freeway to get to the two cars, but neither the female driver of the Kia nor the male driver of the pickup truck was injured, according to Lassig.



Powerlines were toppled on Anza Road, slightly north of Los Nogales Road, just east of Temecula, which forced the closure of Anza between Los Nogales and Rancho California Road, according to the California Department of Transportation.

The rainfall totals in the region were astounding and, in some locations, record-breaking. In the 24 hour period ending at 7 p.m.,  Temecula saw 3.07 inches of rain, Lake Skinner saw 2.09 inches, Ryan Field in Hemet saw 1.89 inches and he Railroad Canyon Dam near Lake Elsinore saw .51 inches.

San Diego broke its 1866 record of 1.25 inches, with 1.5 inches of rain fall today; Idyllwild broke its 1980 record of 1.91 inches, with 2.65 inches of rainfall; and Palomar Mountain just barely broke its  1901 record of 3.79 inches with a total rainfall amount of 3.80 inches.

City News Service Contributed to this report. 

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