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Local county emergency proclamation to assist in acquiring flood recovery funds

The damage from the desert deluge forced the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to declare a local emergency this week.

Wide gaps and debris remain at Avenue 44 at the whitewater wash, one of many places across Riverside County damaged from the Valentine’s Day floods, creating unwanted detours.

“It’s more gas having to go around, so I’d rather just walk. That way, I can get from point A to point B,” Tanya Pena of Indio, said.

The damage extensive from the unprecedented rainfall.

“In some areas of the county, what we saw was the equivalent of a 200 year rain event,” Shane Reichardt, Senior Public Information Specialist with the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department, said.

That led to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to declare a local emergency making the county eligible to receive state and federal funds.

“It allows the county to do some of the work that we need to do and to start repairing some of the damages,” Reichardt said.

With areas like Highway 243 near Idyllwild washing out and various roads still shut down with debris the price of repairs will be expensive county-wide.

“We’re looking at tens of millions of dollars in damages so far. It’s going to take a little while,” Reichardt said.

County officials say they are already coordinating with the state office of emergency services to determine what funding is available.

“Priorities are being established in trying to figure out what we need to fix first. It may be a while before these roadways are restored and opened,” Reichardt said.

Locals hope the unwanted detours will go away soon and are aware weather happens.

“The weather, there’s nothing we can do about it. It just stuff that happens,” Pena said.

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