Highway 18 closed after rockslides, heavy rain pound parts of the Inland Empire – San Bernardino Sun

Date: 2021-09-10 01:41:15

Rockslides, lightning strikes and flash floods made their way over Inland Empire Thursday, Sept. 9, and led to power outages and the temporary closure of Highway 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains, as monsoonal thunderstorms crawled across the region.

The most significant rainfall happened at higher elevations while strong wind gusts — as high as 65 mph in Calimesa — battered the more populated areas at lower elevations, said James Brotherton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

“A lot of times you’ll get heavy rainfall in the mountain areas that will push some pretty heavy winds down into the more populated areas,” Brotherton said.

Rain drenched the higher elevations, sitting over the region and wreaking havoc on mountain roads. The system also brought a flash flood warning and a severe thunderstorm warning for areas of Redlands, Yucaipa and Beaumont, according to the National Weather Service’s San Diego office.

A flash flood warning was also issued for the area of Running Springs, Green Valley Lake, Arrowbear Lake and Cedar Glen until 5:45 p.m., NWS said.

Redlands got some rain Thursday afternoon, Sept. 9, as seen from the grounds of First Presbyterian Church, looking toward the Redlands Police Annex. A storm cell moved through the region and brought with it thunderstorms. (Photo by Betty Tyler/Staff)

More than an inch of rain — 1.06 inches — fell at Vista Grande Thursday in the San Jacinto Mountains of Riverside County,  Brotherton said. In Poppet Flats, near Idyllwild, .38 inches of rainfall was recorded.

In total, 6,254 customers lost power as a result of the thunderstorms, according to Southern California Edison. Many of the outages were estimated to be remedied by around 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10.

The outages affected a variety of jurisdictions: 1,820 customers in Calimesa; 23 near Dunlap Acres; 49 near Crafton; 942 in Warner; 1,100 near Greenspot; 1,662 in Highland; and 658 north of downtown San Bernardino, according to Southern California Edison.

Pea-sized hail was also reported in Yucaipa as well in the afternoon, said NWS meteorologist Stephanie Sullivan.

In the San Bernardino National Forest, thunderstorm cells sat over the region starting around 11 a.m. through most of the afternoon, Sullivan said. The stagnant storm system prompted rockslides and mudflows along Highway 18 between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, Sullivan said.

Highway 18 was temporarily closed due to rockslides blocking the highway between Big Bear Dam and Snow Valley, according to Caltrans. But by around 6 p.m., Highway 18 was re-opened, Caltrans said.

Lightning strikes were recorded through the San Bernardino National Forest, Sullivan said.

Reconnaissance flights in the afternoon were not showing any fires started from the strikes, said Zachary Behrens, spokesman for the National Forest.

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