El Niño: Danger Along the Santa Ana River

You may be relaxing at home as you read this. Maybe having a latte in a coffee shop. But, while you're checking your email there are people who are homeless camping out along the Santa Ana riverbed. They're homeless for any number of reasons, but they are homeless. Though, they are not alone. 

If you ask the Mayor of Riverside he'll tell you his city is all about compassion and taking care of all people. That's why police and homeless advocates were out this week telling river-dwellers about two dangers they now face. On Halloween, there was a bad fire in the riverbed. With windy conditions police are worried there could be more. The big deal, though, is El Niño and what the warm weather pattern could mean for Riverside County weather. 

Anthony Coletta is the manager of the city's Emergency Operations. He says, “It’s going to be a big deal. And, if you’ve experienced any of our July or August monsoon very isolated downpours quarter-inch or half-inch… it’s very problematic.”

To Lt. Bruce Blomdahl, “It could come very fast like within a matter of minutes. You could have flash floods that could take over the river bottom”

He says it could take lives too. Blomdahl says, the water could rise and cover encampments bank to bank. And, it doesn’t help that fire destroyed some of the vegetation around here on Halloween.

That brings us to Sarah Negrete who lives in an encampment near the river. When you ask her if she's worried she says, "yeah … kinda since the fire came. I’m worried about the flooding coming up cause there’s no vegetation.”

She also says she wants out. Wants to go to a shelter. So, the city was glad to accommodate.

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