Officials begin storm prep as SoCal braces for more rain, snow with strong winds

Tuesday, March 21, 2023
More rain threatens SoCal mountain communities
More rain on the way means more problems for SoCal mountain communities.

COLTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Officials in San Bernardino County and elsewhere in Southern California are preparing themselves - and residents - for the upcoming winter storm that is expected to bring strong winds, rain and snow through Wednesday.

The mountain communities are expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain, with snow levels beginning at around 5,000 feet. But the threshold for snow levels will drop to 3,000 feet starting Wednesday morning.

The valleys and coasts will see rain as well, about 1 to 2 inches overall, with rain already beginning in Los Angeles County.

For San Bernardino County, officials are planning for 24 hour snow plow coverage, as well as preparing two strike teams from the state to help with emergencies and swift water rescue teams.

"We already have all our equipment up in our mountain yards and down here in the valley," said Brendon Biggs, an official from San Bernardino County Public Works. "We increased equipment in all of the areas that we typically have issues with. Our crews will be working around the clock, clearing snow and looking for any flooding that may be happening."

The current storm this week is the latest in a string of storms that have left rain and snow and devastation across SoCal, especially in the mountain communities.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, officials say more than 40 homes have been destroyed and more than 500 of them have been damaged after the recent storms.

In the mountain community of Forest Falls - elevation 5,700 feet - all of the snow that fell during the massive storm three weeks ago is finally starting to melt.

The question now is how much precipitation this week's storm will bring.

"We don't know what's really going to happen until it happens," said Forest Falls resident Lynette Paoli.

Valley of the Falls Road is closed just before the trailhead. The U.S. Forest Service closed many forest roads until the end of June because of all the damage from the recent storm.

Forest Falls is one of many communities in the El Dorado fire burn scar. A lot of the prep work that's been done to protect homes from more mudslides is still in place.

"Everybody should hunker down and be ready. Be prepared. We know it's coming," Paoli said. "Go shopping right now, get your stuff."