Severely damaged roads in areas of the San Jacinto Mountains have prompted officials to ask residents to shelter in place Thursday, cutting them off from civilization, as one resident put it.
Residents in Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove are being affected by the unsafe roadway conditions because of heavy rainfall.
Flooding and debris have left the roads a mess and Caltrans officials are asking motorists to avoid traveling during the storm.
State Route 243 was closed between the 10 Freeway in Banning and State Route 74 – after half of the roadway eroded near Lake Fulmor, leaving behind a giant chasm, according to Caltrans. It is unclear when the damage could be repaired and the road will be reopened.
In a tweet showing a gaping hole in the pavement on State Route 243, the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department said the “deteriorating road conditions” had prompted the shelter-in-place order.
“Deteriorating road conditions is putting it mildly looking at those pics,” one Twitter user responded.
State Route 74 was closed Thursday from Lake Hemet, through Mountain Center, to Borco Street in the Valle Vista area, also because of road loss, according to Caltrans.
The two highways are the main routes in and out of the communities in the San Jacinto Mountains southwest of Palm Springs and about 90 miles east-southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
In an email, a KTLA viewer said residents are trapped because of the road closures.
“No one can get up here or leave,” Rick Flanders said in an email with the subject line “Idyllwild Cut Off from Civilization.”
The area surrounding the mountain towns burned in the 27,500-acre Mountain Fire in 2013. Last July, the 13,000-acre Cranston Fire again threatened homes, destroying five, in the area. On Thursday, a Temecula man pleaded guilty to setting the Cranston Fire.
Evacuation warnings had been issued for the some homes near the Cranston Fire burn area.
Care and reception centers were opened for those affected by the road closures: Banning High School, at 100 W. Westward Ave., and Hamilton High School, at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza.
Updates about the road conditions are available at RivCoReady.org.
Update: SR-243, there are two closures in place. Hurley Flats to I-10, and at Saunders Meadow. pic.twitter.com/LUHRxHYwM2
— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) February 14, 2019
Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove asked to shelter in place due to deteriorating road conditions. Roadways are unsafe. Idyllwild School, 26700 Highway 243 in Idyllwild established as a care and reception center. (Photos courtesy Caltrans District 8) @CALFIRERRU @RSOPIOWest pic.twitter.com/asWoYzrNOT
— RivCoReady (@RivCoReady) February 14, 2019