By Mary-Justine Lanyon
On Monday morning, folks were spotted out across the mountain shoveling mud and debris from their driveways, parking areas and even local roads.
While a storm had been predicted for Saturday, Sept. 10, that storm did not materialize. However, after threatening clouds built up on Sunday afternoon, the skies opened up and dropped a steady downpour on the mountain communities.
“I have lived on the mountain for over 40 years and this was the most intense lightning storm I can recall,” said weather guru Ron Chalfant. “The only storm that compares with this was the 2003 storm that wiped out Highway 18 and the camp in Waterman Canyon.”
Chalfant added that “thunderstorms were expected on Sunday. However, this was an anomaly in that the storm remained pretty much stationary for more than two hours over the area from Crestline to Running Springs. This was due to the moist air mass that was still over the region from what was Hurricane Kay.”
More thunderstorms were anticipated on Monday but Chalfant said he didn’t think we would see “a repeat of yesterday’s deluge.”
Folks driving up Highway 18 on Sunday afternoon posted about the difficult conditions on Facebook. “The CHP should close Highway 18,” Lori Snider-Boyster wrote. “It is dangerous and a complete hazard. There are mudslides and giant boulders on both sides – deep water. I was about halfway up and turned around.”
That wish came true on Monday when Highway 18 was closed due to a landslide that blocked the road. Many motorists were caught unawares and had to wait for hours before being able to turn around. Others, having been warned, took Highway 330 up the mountain.
A SkyPark employee said, after driving home to Lake Arrowhead, it was the most harrowing drive he had ever had.
One homeowner in Cedar Glen said he and his family had filled and put out 50 sandbags to try to stop the flood. Despite their efforts, their horse corral and yard were hit “pretty hard,” he said.
How much rain did the mountain receive on Sunday? Here are some numbers Chalfant collected from the National Weather Service and local reports:
• Running Springs (Live Oak area): 3.20 inches
• Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club: 2.94 inches
• Heaps Peak: 2.68 inches
• Panorama Point: 2.59 inches
• Twin Peaks: 1.77 inches
• Rimforest: 1.75 inches
• Dart Canyon: 1.75 inches
• Crest Park: 1.74 inches
• Arrowhead Villas: 1.73 inches
• Cedar Glen: 1.37 inches
• Green Valley Lake: 1.01 inches