A three-mile stretch of Soboba Road was closed Thursday in advance of a storm, and an apartment complex and a Jewish temple were to be evacuated by 4 p.m., as authorities prepare for mud flows that could inundate the area, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials said.
“I know a lot of the fire stations were advertising free sand bags. Hopefully people will be prepared,” said Hemet resident, Sylvia Silver.
The evacuation order affects the Valley View Apartments at 20520 Highway 79 and Hemecinto Sholom Center/Temple Beth Am at 20514 Highway 79, also known as State Street. Both addresses are located at the bottom of a drainage at the base of the Soboba foothills, sheriff’s officials said.
News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 are in San Jacinto Thursday afternoon to see the storm preparations first-hand.
In addition to the evacuations, Soboba Road will be closed from State Street to Chabela Drive, beginning at 4 p.m.
“Road closures and evacuation orders will remain in place until such time it is deemed safe for residents to return to their homes and roadways are drivable,” Sheriff’s public information officer Alberto Martinez stated.
The evacuations — to be enforced by sheriff’s deputies and CAL Fire/Riverside County fire department — come a week after a powerful winter storm that hit the region on Dec. 4, sent mud and debris into the same area, damaging homes and vehicles and forcing road closures, evacuations and several rescues.
“It flooded so badly. Cars were trapped,” said Judy English, of Hemet. “You can’t stop this mud flow and that’s what people were caught in.”
A storm now pelting Northern California is expected to arrive in Riverside County late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
“Our agencies remain united with a common goal of the planning, response, recovery and mitigation, where public safety is concerned in potentially dangerous situations like these,” said Gina McGough, manager for the Riverside County Fire Department Office of Emergency Services.
News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will keep you updated with all of the evacuations and road closures and rainy weather begins to move into Riverside County.