Valley News Staff
A local state of emergency was declared Monday, Aug. 21, by the County Executive Officer and Director of Emergency Services, Jeff Van Wagenen, in response to severe weather threats posed by the remnants of Hilary.
The proclamation comes in light of the National Weather Service's recent warnings: a Tropical Storm Warning on August 18, a series of Flood Watches between August 19 and August 22, and multiple Flash Flood Warnings on August 19 and 20. These warnings indicate substantial dangers to both individuals and properties within Riverside County.
In preparation for the anticipated threats, the county has already initiated proactive measures, positioning essential resources like swift water rescue teams, mass care resources, transportation crews, and flood control professionals.
The situation is further exacerbated by existing burn scars from previous wildfires, including the Apple/El Dorado, Fairview, Bonny, Reche, and Sunset fires. These scars heighten the risk for catastrophic flooding, mudslides, and debris flows, leading to the necessary issuance of evacuation orders for communities situated below these vulnerable areas.
The storm system propelled by Hurricane Hilary has already inflicted considerable damage across Riverside, causing extensive flooding, road blockages, and harm to vital infrastructure. This widespread damage threatens to place a significant economic strain on affected communities.
In acknowledgment of the severity of the situation, the Governor of the State of California had already proclaimed a State of Emergency on August 19.
This local emergency is set to remain in effect for the next seven days. Any extension beyond this period will necessitate ratification from the Board of Supervisors. Until its conclusion, the Director of Emergency Services and the County's Emergency Management Organization will exercise their powers as prescribed by state law and local Riverside County regulations to alleviate the repercussions of this emergency.
Lastly, the County has made a formal request to the Governor of California to solicit all eligible State and Federal financial aid for both the County and the impacted local jurisdictions.