Strawberry Creek after the storms in the middle of January.
Photo by Peter Szabadi

But still short of average rainfall

A week of rain and snow fell throughout the Hill from Sunday, Jan. 13, through Thursday night, Jan. 17. During this period, the U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded more than 3 inches of rain.

Although it seemed to rain continuously during that week, fortunately, this was not a torrential shower, similar to a summer thunderstorm. As a result, the concerns about flooding and debris flows never occurred for the Cranston Fire burn areas.

Some temporary mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Holy Fire areas, but Highway 74 and local roads were not inundated.

Four storms passed over the Hill from Saturday to Thursday. The first occurred on Saturday, Jan. 12. On Monday, the second brought light snow to Idyllwild. The third and fourth storms, Wednesday and Thursday, brought most of the rain. 

These storms were connected to the atmospheric river, which is why so much precipitation fell. But this source also was warmer than the first two storms. Snowfall occurred at San Jacinto Peak and elevations above 8,000 feet, particularly north in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Friday morning, Jan. 18, Strawberry Creek was flowing strongly after a week of rain.   Photo by JP Crumrine

     Total rainfall since Oct. 1 has been 9.7 inches at Keenwild. The long-term average rain on the Hill from October through January has been 11.8 inches. Weather for the next few weeks is expected to be warmer and dry. Nevertheless, the National Weather Service is still forecasting an El Niño weather pattern for late winter into spring.