Late winter storms provide drought relief

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A woman walks through Old Town Temecula Thursday, April 9, as rain soaks the region for several consecutive days. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

A series of late winter storms moved through the area recently providing some much-needed relief to the drought status of southwest Riverside County, according to reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Before the storms dumped 6.18 inches of rain in Temecula, the southwest portion of the county was labeled as abnormally dry by the agency which monitors and reports on drought throughout the U.S. As of Tuesday, April 7, the area was once again declared to be drought free.

Annual average rainfall in Temecula is about 16 inches, the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District said. After the storms, the city exceeded that amount, bringing its total rainfall for the season up to 18.18 inches, according to weather currents.

A woman walks through Old Town Temecula Thursday, April 9, as rain soaks the region for several consecutive days. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

During the storms, which began Monday, April 6, and continued through Saturday, April 11, Murrieta received 4.7 inches of rainfall, while Lake Elsinore saw 3.63 inches and Hemet saw 5.25 inches.

In the unincorporated community of Anza, 3.04 inches of precipitation was reported, while in French Valley 5.39 inches of rain was reported over the life of the six-day storm.

Rain soaks a building in Old Town Temecula as the region experiences precipitation for several consecutive days. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

In north San Diego County 5.75 inches of rain was reported in Fallbrook, which also was listed as abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor before the storms moved into the area. Following the storms, Fallbrook and all of San Diego County, along with San Bernardino County to the north were declared as drought free.

Portions of Orange and Los Angeles counties also showed improvement in drought conditions.

In other weather-related news, Riverside County Department of Transportation closed Joseph Road at Nicolas Road shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, April 10, due to flooding. Earlier in the week, Leon Road between Domenigoni Parkway and Olive Avenue just east of Menifee was also closed due to the downpours that triggered flooding and numerous washouts throughout the county.

Motorists drive on a wet Interstate 15 freeway while rain soaks the region for several consecutive days. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Alternate routes were provided for motorists and all flooded roads have since reopened.

City News Service contributed to this story.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com.