RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Thunderstorm cells dumped heavy rain in parts of the
San Bernardino National Forest today and caused roadway flooding in the San
Gorgonio Pass and east of the Coachella Valley, while lightning strikes caused
damage in at least one location, amid the first monsoonal activity of summer.
According to the California Highway Patrol, one lane on Interstate 10
in the San Gorgonio Pass became impassable after a downpour shortly before 3
Additional flooding occurred on Highway 177 in the Eagle Mountain
area, just north of Desert Center, according to the CHP. Hail was also reported
About 3 p.m., lightning charred a utility pole in the area of Highway
74 and Lake Hemet Road in Anza, according to the Riverside County Fire
It was unknown whether the strike triggered a power outage.
No fires were reported in connection with the storm cells.
At 4:30 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Severe
Thunderstorm Warning covering the Anza Valley, La Quinta, Mountain Center, Palm
Desert and Palm Springs.
Doppler radar images for the area showed intense cells rolling south
to north through the wilderness at the south end of the San Bernardino National
Forest, over the eastern Coachella Valley.
The cells were expected to shed some of their energy and begin
dissipating at nightfall.
Meteorologists said high humidity and elevated temperatures,
influenced by a fetch of moisture pushing into Southern California from Mexico,
generated conditions ripe for convective-driven instability.
“By Wednesday afternoon, monsoonal moisture will be fully in place,
with surface mass convergence,” according to an NWS statement. “This looks to
provide the best opportunity of thunderstorms to develop. Most cells will
produce .25 to .50 inches.”
Prognostication charts published by the NWS showed dueling high- and
low-pressure systems over Southern California on Wednesday afternoon, with the
possibility of scattered thunderstorms in most of Riverside and San Bernardino
“There may be just enough moisture remaining Thursday to allow for
isolated showers or thunderstorms to develop over the mountains … before dry
weather returns Friday and into the upcoming weekend,” the agency stated.
In the Riverside metropolitan area, the swelter will continue for the
rest of the week, with highs generally in the mid- to upper-90s and lows in the
mid- to upper-60s.
Triple-digit heat will remain the norm in the Coachella Valley, with
the mercury topping out between 105 and 110 degrees going into the weekend,
while overnight temps won’t fall much below 80. In the Temecula Valley, peak
temperatures are expected to hover in the upper 80s to low 90s, with lows
falling to around 60 this week, according to the NWS.
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