Rain Could Bring Flooding and Mudslides to Scorched Mountain

Matt Vanderveer

Rain Could Bring Flooding and Mudslides to Scorched Mountain

CREATED Jul. 24, 2013

IDYLLWILD - Fire officials say they have a good grasp on the Mountain Center fire thanks to some support from mother nature. But that support, in the form of a monsoonal flow, isn't helping in all areas of safety. In Idyllwild there are nearly 20 homes in the surrounding area that are under pre-evacuation orders due to mudslides and flooding. Robert Balfour of The National Weather Service says if the Coachella Valley gets more thunderstorms later in the week, South Palm Springs could be next for evacuation orders. "There is a threat to South Palm Springs because Palm Canyon does empty into the Coachella Valley and there are houses and infrastructure to the north of the Palm Canyon drainage,” says Balfour. He says the rain may help the fire but residents need to be cautious. "It only takes a very small amount of rain to cause a flash flood or a debris flow,” says Balfour.


Cail Meyer drives up the scorched San Jacinto Mountains five days a week for work and says he always keeps his eyes peeled. "I come up the hill and I think about that every day. There's accidents, there’s rockslides. I come around the corner and there’s rocks in the road everyday,” says Meyer. "It only takes about a foot of moving water to float a car and we think, well, oh that's not going to float my car--- but it will,” says Balfour. Meyer and his wife understand that. "Me and my wife actually stayed home Monday morning because she was scared to come up the mountain,” says Meyer. Sunday night was the first big thunderstorm the mountain saw. It was also the day all the evacuations were lifted for the mountain.


Balfour says you’d be surprised how many people test their fate at driving through flowing or still water. "That is where the majority of fatalities come from in a flash flood; when you try to drive through a flooded area,” says Balfour. He says stay updated and always be prepared. "Get sand bags, check your flood insurance policy. If you can't take protective action and you can't afford a loss, then you should insure for that loss,” says Balfour. He says the heaviest of the rain will be Thursday night going into Friday.


Latest numbers have the fire at more then 27,000 acres and 91% containment with full containment expected by Friday.