Valentine’s Day 2019 will always be remembered, and not just by lovers. The atmospheric river, which passed over Riverside County pouring 8 or more inches of rain, damaged and closed several local highways. 

At its Feb. 26 meeting, the RC Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring a local emergency due to the storm’s widespread damage. According to the background for the resolution, nearly 17,000 residents were evacuated due to the flooding.

The multiple highway closures “… have isolated or limited access to the communities of Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Mountain Center and other areas of the county which will result in severe economic impact to those communities,” the resolution declares.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his proclamation of state of emergency for 21 counties, including Riverside, on Feb. 21.

The board also approved a resolution extending the original local emergency proclamation for the Cranston Fire area.

In July 2018, days after the ignition of the Cranston Fire, the board initially declared a local emergency and former Gov. Jerry Brown also proclaimed a local emergency due to the fire. And it included this clause, “The Proclamation of Local Emergency begins the process to receive resources for assistance to first responders, residents and others impacted by the winter storm.”