Woman missing in San Bernardino County after trailer swept away in flood; rescue efforts continue

Jaysha Patel Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Hilary repairs, cleanup continue in San Bernardino Mountains
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Crews are working to clear and repair roads that were washed out by Tropical Storm Hilary in the San Bernardino Mountains.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of residents in the San Bernardino Mountains have been rescued after tropical storm Hilary washed out roads and left them cut off from the rest of the world.

Public works crews were able to open up a route for more than 700 residents of Forest Falls and nearby communities who were left stranded when the incessant rains washed out their only route out of town.

Dramatic mudflows were seen in Oak Glen and Forest Falls as the storm, which had been downgraded from a hurricane before it entered the region, soaked the area. San Bernardino County issued a local emergency declaration in response to the storm.

Hilary's highest rain total was in Upper Mission Creek where 13 inches of rainfall was recorded.

Though the rain has mostly out, there's still plenty more residual impacts - and one of the most hard-hit counties is working to get back on track.

Rescue efforts increase

The goal Tuesday was to rescue everyone left stranded in areas like Seven Oaks, Glen Oaks and Forest Falls.

Across the San Bernardino Mountains, crews worked to clear mud that blocked the homes of about 800 residents, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Alison Hesterly said.

During the height of the storm, the Santa Ana River overflowed near the community of Seven Oaks, leaving several structures damaged by flood waters and debris flow. According to the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District, about 30 people were left stranded on the opposite bank of the river.

Woman "unaccounted for"

On Monday, SBCoFD said during interviews with stranded residents, they found out one person was unaccounted for.

Witnesses said a woman in the Southern Oaks area was inside a trailer that was swept away in the flash flood though further details weren't immediately released.

Since then, rescue efforts led by both SBCoFD and the sheriff's department have increased but some residents have declined help, saying they wanted to wait it out. Firefighters and paramedics equipped those who chose to stay with medical gear, food and water.

Resources for residents

Officials have established the San Bernardino County Storm Information Line for any residents who may have questions or concerns. You can call 909-387-3911 now or visit https://storminfo.sbcounty.gov to get information online.

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