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Top Local Weather Stories of 2007

Posted January 1, 2008, 12:16 AM.

Here's our list of the top ten weather events of the past year that affected WeatherCurrents communities in western Riverside and northern San Diego counties.

It was an eventful weather year, and so there are ten events in this year's list. There were five in last year's list.

Many of the top weather events were interconnected by cause and effect. For example, the dry rain season increased the likelihood of a bad fire season. And the high heat of early September helped further dry out the brush that burned in October's wildfires.

  1. Damaging Santa Ana Winds, October 21st - 23rd, 2007. This was the key event of 2007, mainly due to its causal relationship with three other top local weather events, including the two major fires, Rice Canyon and Poomacha, and the San Jacinto sandstorm. Probably the fiercest winds of the decade blew through some of the inland valleys and the Fallbrook area, estimated at more than 80 mph in San Jacinto (one report said gusts there topped out at 103 mph), 54 mph in Temecula, 49 mph in Perris, and 73 mph in Fallbrook (all of those readings were station records).
  2. Rice Canyon Fire, October 22nd-28th, 2007. Allegedly sparked by power lines in Rainbow, due to high winds, this firestorm devastated the Rainbow and Fallbrook areas, claiming 208 homes in the Interstate 15 area in northern San Diego county. 9,472 acres were burned. The fire was particularly fierce on October 22nd and 23rd, as Santa Ana winds gusted to over 70 mph in the Fallbrook area, which was evacuated for several days while firefighting efforts continued. There were many stories posted about the Rice Canyon fire; the referenced one above is one of the early ones.
  3. Poomacha Fire, October 23rd-November 8th, 2007. A massive 49,410 acres, as well as 138 homes, 1 commercial property and 78 outbuildings were burned in the second major October wildfire. The fire burned up the south side of Mount Palomar, in the Valley Center area, and in the Pauma Valley. Many communities along State Route 56 in northern San Diego County were evacuated as it spread. It began as an ordinary structure fire that spread into vegetation. The Poomacha Fire was covered in many news stories; the one linked to above contains pictures from the fire.
  4. Record Freeze, January 14th, 2007. Sunday, January 14th, 2007 was the coldest day of at least the past decade, with temperatures plunging into the 20's in many inland valleys for many hours. The sustained freeze killed many susceptible plants and destroyed citrus and avocado crops in places like De Luz and Fallbrook. All eight WeatherCurrents stations set minimum temperature records, with Sun City recording a WeatherCurrents all-time low of 20.1°F. The freeze endured for an eight day period, from January 11th through the 18th.
  5. Dry Rain Season, July 1st, 2006 - June 30th, 2007. Drought in Southern California led to some of the lowest rain totals of the decade, with many WeatherCurrents stations recording their worst rain season totals. If it were not for an abnormally wet April, the totals would have been worse. Riverside got only 2.15" for the season, Lake Elsinore 2.22", Murrieta 2.87", and Temecula 3.87". Hemet received more (4.22") due to monsoonal thunderstorms in July, 2006. All areas were well below normal seasonal rainfall totals. The lack of sufficient rainfall for the second season in a row likely exacerbated the October wildfires.
  6. San Jacinto Sandstorm, October 21st, 2007. WeatherCurrents' San Jacinto weather station was damaged as Santa Ana winds blew sand through the streets. The wind sensor seized at 29 mph when sand particles blew into its bearings, and the true wind speeds were more like 80 mph. One report had winds at up to 103 mph. Power lines were downed and phones lines damaged, as well as some mobile homes in the area. Sand was still present in spots a couple of months later.
  7. Lake Elsinore Severe Storm, August 31st, 2007. In the midst of the worst heat of the year, a severe thunderstorm trashed a shopping center on Lakeshore Drive in Lake Elsinore. A mini-tornado may have touched down there, and an estimated half inch of rain accompanied the event.
  8. Inland Valley Snow, January 12th, 2007. For the fourth time this decade, inland valleys received a moderate dusting of snow. The widespread area that got brief snowfall this time included San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Fontana, Mira Loma, Riverside, Perris, Sun City, Menifee, Hemet, Temescal Valley and Lake Elsinore. The area affected by snow was much larger than the March 11th, 2006 event.
  9. Labor Day Weekend Heat Wave, August 29th - September 3rd, 2007. Although not quite the equal of the record 2006 heat wave, these were the hottest days of the year. Some sample extreme temperatures: Temecula, 109°F, Lake Elsinore, 111°F, Riverside, 113°F, Fallbrook, 104°F. The heat was accompanied by high humidity and monsoons that caused another of 2007's top events, the Lake Elsinore severe storm.
  10. Rainfall Deluge, November 30th, 2007. Temecula's amazing one day storm total of 4.23" was more than two entire rain seasons this decade, including the recently completed 2006-2007 season (3.87"). Other locations in Temecula recorded 4.51" (southeast) and 3.76" (central) as a strong band of rain sat over the Temecula Valley for the day. The Riverside area was the least wet at just under 2", and some eastern areas of the San Jacinto Valley received more than 3". Fallbrook's total was 3.38".
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The San Jacinto, California weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. San Jacinto is located in the heart of the San Jacinto Valley, near Hemet, the Soboba Casino, and at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains.
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