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Heavy Rainfall, Flooding and Mudslides: January 9-11, 2005

Last updated July 4, 2005

A series of storms over the weekend of January 7th through 11th soaked an already soggy southwest Riverside County and north San Diego county, as well as the entire region. Many communities have received four to eight inches of rain since the latest series began on Friday, January 7th. Flooding and damage to the region was the worst since a disastrous series of storms in January, 1993, when Old Town Temecula flooded.

Rainfall was particularly intense across the inland area Sunday evening. Thunder and lightning accompanied a fierce downpour around 5pm Sunday, January 9th and affected the local power grid. Residents in the Temecula and Menifee Valleys saw their lights and power flicker momentarily.

Many roads experienced mud flows and flooding from the rain. Highway 79 South east of the Temecula city limits remained closed most of Monday between Anza and Sage Roads (near Aguanga). Caltrans crews had been working on removing the mud Sunday night. The highway was reopened Monday around 4:30pm.

Pala Road just past Pechanga Casino and Great Oak High School just south of Temecula was closed Monday, January 10th when large pieces of the roadway over Pechanga Creek broke away. Flooding was evident north of the washout. Local residents were escorted through the area on foot Monday by Pechanga firefighters. Residents were stranded by a mud and rock slide further down Pala Road that effectively cut them off in both directions. The slide was cleared Wednesday, and a road-rebuilding effort with new, larger culverts was underway Friday. The roadbed was reinforced with boulders, repaved, and reopened on January 19th. Long term solutions being discussed for the segment include a bridge ober Pechanga Creek.

Pauba Road in the Temecula Valley wine country is closed (near Highway 79 South) due to the destruction of a section of the roadway. A drainage ditch by the side of the road overflowed and flood waters washed away sections of the road.

Near Pauba Road and Highway 79 South, Los Caballos Road was partially washed out by flood waters. One lane was passable by automobiles.

In Sun City, many roads were reported flooded Monday by an overflowing local creek. Arroyo Creek had flooded Bradley Road at Newport, Murrieta Road at Newport, and Ridgemore and Cherry Hills Roads east of Murrieta Road. McCall Boulevard was the only passable major east-west route in Sun City on Monday morning.

In De Luz, El Prado Road was closed just west of Sandia Creek Road. The road bed became undermined Sunday night. Santa Rosa Community Services was on the scene removing the existing culverts and road bed. The spokesperson for Santa Rosa said that plans were already in motion to set a temporary structure and road bed. A portion of De Luz road was reported closed, between Carancho and Camaron and remained closed Wednesday.

A tornado touched down in the Diamond Valley lake area south of Hemet and well north of the Temecula Valley, at 5:11pm Sunday. Minor damage was reported; apparently a metal shed was tossed a short distance by the tornado.

Above Lake Elsinore, State Highway 74, the Ortega Highway, was closed beginning Tuesday due to mudslides near the Candy Store and the Orange County line. Highway 74 was washed out near Antonio Parkway in Orange County. Local traffic was allowed. The highway reopened January 28th.

A mudslide on the slope of southbound Interstate 15 forced the closure of the rightmost lane of the freeway on Friday, January 14th, according to a story in The Californian. A blocked drainpipe caused rainwaters to saturate the soil instead of running off, and the mud slid down the slope onto the Temecula Creek golf course. The lane was reopened on Monday, January 17th. Repairs to the slope were scheduled to take two weeks, at a potential cost of $2 million.

Rain had been steady on Saturday and Friday as well until Sunday evening's deluge. Over an inch of rain fell in less than four hours in Temecula, and in the same timespan Fallbrook received about an inch and a half. Fallbrook's 3.48" for the day Sunday, January 9th was the most ever recorded by WeatherCurrents on a single day, eclipsing 3.06" in Murrieta set just last October 27th.

Seasonal Rainfall
Community  Rainfall
Fallbrook 24.00"
Murrieta 22.85"
Temecula 21.46"
Hemet 19.02"
Through Wednesday morning

By Wednesday morning, seasonal rainfall was above 20" for most inland communities. Fallbrook led the way with 24.00".

Thursday through Wednesday Totals
Location Storm  Source
Northwest Lake Elsinore 10.21"  Brian Endres
South De Luz 10.01"  Steve Rhodes
South Fallbrook 7.96"  WeatherCurrents
North De Luz 7.87"  WeatherCurrents
South Fallbrook 7.58"  Dan Townley
Northeast Temecula 7.48"  Michael Mojarro
Southeast Temecula 7.45"  Jim Sappington
Northwest Murrieta 7.18"  WeatherCurrents
East Murrieta 6.38"  Steven Craig
South Temecula 6.36"  WeatherCurrents
Sun City 5.00"  WeatherCurrents
East Hemet 4.85"  WeatherCurrents

More information will be posted as it becomes available. WeatherCurrents' news stories rely on reports from the community. Report storm damage and closures. Submit a storm-related picture.

Online news articles related to the storms:

See a list of all past weather happenings in your area on the Features page.

Emailed reports by Jim Sappington, Katy Parkhurst, Michael Mojarro, Sheldon Otto, Sue Bram and Chris Fulkerson contributed to this story. The National Weather Service, San Diego office and The Californian also contributed to this story.

Photos are courtesy of Sheldon Otto, Garnett Lohrey, Mike Wilson, Michael Mojarro, Jim Sappington, Dave Norton, John Pitt and WeatherCurrents. Video was contributed by Anthony Jones.

De Luz
Temecula
Wine Country
Hemet
Lake Elsinore

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