Weekend storms wreak havoc in the valley but bring tourism to Idyllwild
■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
While the rain was welcome in relation to our drought conditions, our local valley took one heck of a beating over the inaugural weekend. The rainstorm that deluged the San Jacinto Valley on Friday caused massive flooding of city and county streets, and a mudslide on Gilman Springs Road and a boulder slide between Hemet and Mountain Center caused both routes to be temporarily closed.
Disabled cars were stranded in roadways, and first responders and tow truck drivers were kept extremely busy with mud dig-outs and water rescues.
According to a news release, CalFire/Riverside County Firefighters on Friday responded to eight calls for water rescue, two of which required actual rescues, more than 61 traffic collisions, 25 reports of flooding, and 26 reports of electrical hazards.
Friday’s rainstorm caused flooding throughout the valley, especially at the intersections along Florida Avenue. Street gutters seemed more like rushing rivers as the rain continued to pound the area. Friday’s storm brought between six and 12 inches of snow in Idyllwild, forcing motorists to use 4WD and chains, no exceptions. Mountain resorts were asking tourists to please stay home because of the treacherous road conditions.
However, the brief reprieve on Saturday brought tourists in droves to the quiet artist’s community of Idyllwild.
“The town is inundated with tourists today,” said Kim Schneider, who lives in Idyllwild with her son, 10-year-old Mason Dunn. “We’re getting lots of good traffic for our local businesses, and I can hear lots of kids playing and having fun in the snow!”
Playing in the snow is one of Mason’s favorite things. “I like rolling down the hill like a snowball, sledding and having snowball fights with my friend Logan,” said Mason.