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Board of Supervisors declares local emergency due to storm damage

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has declared a local emergency for sections of the county affected by the severe winter storm which began hitting the region on February 13 and caused the brunt of its damage of February 14.

The local emergency was declared “due to an intense winter storm that delivered extreme amounts of rainfall…[to areas] including the Canyon 1, Holy Fire, and Cranston Burn Areas beginning February 13,” read the official proclamation, which was ratified Tuesday.

The historic storm wreaked havoc on Riverside County, causing extensive damage in the Coachella Valley, and making mountain roads traversing the Cranston Fire burn area impassible.

“Over 16,7000 County residents were evacuated from their homes or required to shelter in place and were at high risk of injury, death or loss of property due to mud and debris flows from the Canyon 1, Cranston, and Holy Fire Burn Scar areas,” read the proclamation.

Critical damage to Highway 243 between Banning and Idyllwild and Highway 74 between Idyllwild and Hemet created a travel crisis for the mountain communities. The day after the storm, it was estimated that the repairs would take four to six weeks and cost $8 million.

“I was raised up here. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jennifer Wood, a resident of Idyllwild.

Roadway at HWY 243 washes away

The Director of Emergency Services found, according to the proclamation, that the storm, and, in turn, the storm-related closures, had “isolated or “limited access to” Idyllwild, Mountain Center, Pine Cove, and other local communities, resulting in a severe economic impact on the communities.

“Heavy rain in conjunction with the burn scars from the Cranston fire caused numerous mudflows and debris flows that we haven’t seen in years,” a California Highway Patrol officer told News Channel 3’s Madison Weil the day after the storm.

During natural disaster emergencies, the county sends out vital information to residents. Click here to register for alerts.

Read the Board of Supervisors local emergency declaration documents below.

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