Officials with Caltrans are warning drivers not to challenge Mother Nature if they find themselves in an unexpected situation due to heavy rainfall expected in Southern California this weekend.
Rain is anticipated late Wednesday and could last through Sunday. The heaviest rain may come on Friday.
Caltrans is working with CHP and the U.S. Forest Service to make sure roads are safe for travel, but some state highways in recent burn areas could be prone to flooding.
Areas that will be closely monitored include:
- Hwy. 243
- Hwy. 74 Desert Area
- Hwy 74 from Lake Elsinore to Orange County
Caltrans has completed emergency projects to make repairs on these routes for guardrails, drainage, slopes and the roadway, according to officials.
These routes are subject to close if conditions turn bad.
Officials said to use extreme caution and expect road closures without warning in the event of flooding, road loss, accidents and other unforeseen events.
- Bring chains if traveling to mountain areas, you won't be permitted without them.
- Flooding or mud/debris flow is expected during heavy rain, turn around, don't drown. Never exit your vehicle or try to cross running water, it only takes 18 inches of water to lift your vehicle.
- Never pass snow plows, roadwork equipment or vehicles, law enforcement or emergency personnel. You're likely to find the road in front of them worse than behind.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other drivers.
- Make sure your car is in good running condition. Check fluids, windshield wipers and lights before driving.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Do not use cruise control or overdrive.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at above freezing temperatures, in wet conditions you may encounter ice in shady areas or exposed roadways.
- Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can come into trouble on affected roads.
- Pack a safety kit. Include blankets or sleeping bags, water, food, change of clothes and warm clothing, sturdy shoes, flashlight, candles, matches, kitty litter (in case you are stuck in the snow or mud), ice scraper, a radio and batteries and a rope. Pack extra medication and store the kit so it is within reach.