Strong wintry storm lashes region

SAN DIEGO – A strong late-autumn storm drenched the San Diego area today, flooding coastal communities, delivering mountain snowfall and ushering in a rash of traffic accidents — including a fatality — on the region’s soaked commuter routes.

Early this morning, rain fell at a rate of near three-tenths of an inch per hour in the southwestern reaches of the county, according to the National Weather Service. Between 6 and 8 a.m., more than 1 inch of moisture accumulated in some areas, including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Pacific Beach and San Ysidro.

By 10 a.m., the downpours had broken the previous rainfall record for the date at Lindbergh Field, the NWS reported. The total of 1.38 inches that had fallen at the bayside airport since midnight topped the previous Dec. 13 milestone of 0.47 of an inch, according to the federal agency.

In addition to numerous roadway accidents, the wintry storm caused flooding that necessitated the rescue of a man trapped in a torrent near Dairy Mart Road in San Ysidro and sent a 6-foot-diameter boulder tumbling down a Poway hillside and crashing into an unoccupied residential garage in the 13700 block of Vian Road, authorities said.

Standing water prompted temporary street closures in various sections of San Diego, including the Midway district and Point Loma, according to police.

The California Highway Patrol, meanwhile, responded to dozens of accidents per hour over the morning, including one that killed a 32-year-old mechanic who was working on a broken-down school bus when it was rear-ended by a car alongside Interstate 805 in North Park.

Due to predicted wind-driven snow this afternoon and evening, forecasters issued a ”winter weather” advisory for local mountains locales, including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna, effective through 4 a.m. Friday.

By early evening, the downpours had largely petered out across the county, leaving behind rainfall levels higher than had been expected prior to the storm’s arrival, the weather service reported.

Over a 24-hour period ending at 6 p.m., the NWS recorded 1.84 inches of precipitation in Poway; 1.77 in Valley Center; 1.72 in the Fashion Valley area of San Diego; 1.71 at Brown Field airport in Otay Mesa; 1.59 in Bonsall and on Palomar Mountain; 1.57 in Escondido; 1.54 in Rancho Bernardo; 1.47 at Montgomery Field; 1.41 on Mount Woodson; 1.38 in the Lake Murray area; 1.37 at Lake Henshaw; 1.34 in La Mesa and Santee; 1.01 in Oceanside and at Ramona Airport; 0.96 in Solana Beach; 0.92 in Point Loma; 0.9 in Carlsbad; and 0.84 in the Granite Hills area of eastern El Cajon.

Snowfall in the East County highlands was expected to continue through the evening, laying down up to six inches of powdery white flakes in higher locations and lesser amounts in lower elevations, possibly as far down as the 3,500-foot level. Travelers in those locales were advised to be prepared for hazardous conditions, including icy roads and restricted visibility.

Some light mountain snowfall could continue into Friday night and resume Sunday, according to the weather service.

Friday will likely bring partly cloudy skies to most parts of the San Diego region, with a roughly 70 percent chance of light showers in the evening. The weekend should feature similar conditions, with considerably lessened potential for a bit more scattered precipitation, forecasters predicted.

Pacific storm brings rain, perilous travel conditions

SAN DIEGO – A cold Pacific storm brought winter weather to San Diego County today, prompting forecasters to warn of perilous travel conditions, primarily in the mountains.

Due to snow and gusty winds, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the mountains — including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna — effective from 4 this morning to 4 a.m. Friday.

Elsewhere in the county, rain fell this morning, and a coastal flood advisory was scheduled to be in effect from 6 to 10 a.m. while a small craft advisory for mariners off the San Diego coastline was scheduled to expire at 8 a.m.

The Weather Service said there was a slight chance today of thunderstorms capable of producing brief periods of heavy rain and small hail, as well as water spouts over coastal waters.

Rainfall totals from the storm were expected to be between a half-inch and a quarter-inch in coastal and valley areas, and up to two inches in the mountains. A quarter-inch or less was expected in the deserts.

”Most of the snow will occur late (Wednesday) through Thursday evening, as the cold front moves through the area,” according to an NWS advisory.

The agency said snow levels were initially around 6,500 to 7,000 feet Wednesday evening and would gradually fall to between 4,000 and 4,500 feet late today. Total snowfall from the storm was expected to be around two to six inches.

Sustained west-to-southwest winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 30 mph, also were expected in the mountains early today.

”Travelers through the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions,” including slippery roads and low visibility because of blowing snow, according to an NWS advisory. ”Motorists are urged to check the latest road reports before departing. Always carry chains and take extra food and clothing if you must travel into the mountains.”

Some lingering light snow showers could continue into late Friday morning, and there is potential for additional light snow Friday night and Sunday due to some disturbances that may move through the area, according to the Weather Service.

Pacific storm expected to bring rain, snow to San Diego County

SAN DIEGO – A cold Pacific storm is expected to bring rain and snow to San Diego County starting late today and lasting through Thursday, along with hazardous travel conditions in the mountains.

The National Weather Service said the storm will dig south along the California coast today before moving inland across Southern California Thursday.

Coastal and valley areas should see between a half-inch and three- quarters of an inch of rain from the storm, while higher elevations are expected to be blanketed by several inches of snow.

”Although some light snow showers may linger over the mountains through early Friday morning, the majority of snow will occur (this evening) through Thursday evening, as the cold front moves through the area,” according to an NWS advisory.

A winter weather advisory is scheduled from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday for mountain areas, including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna. According to the Weather Service, the snow level should drop to 5,000 feet by early Thursday, then down to 4,000 feet by Thursday evening.

Two to six inches of snow accumulation is expected above 5,000 feet and a dusting of two inches is expected between 4,000 and 5,000 feet.

The mountains will also be subject to sustained west to southwest winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 40 mph. Winds should decrease slightly by Thursday afternoon, according to a NWS advisory.

”Travelers through the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions,” forecasters said. ”Motorists are urged to check the latest road reports before departing. Always carry chains and take extra food and clothing if you must travel into the mountains.”

Fairer weather is expected Friday, though some lingering light snow showers are possible in the mountains through Friday morning, according to the Weather Service. Then, ”there is the potential for some additional light snow Friday night and Sunday due to some disturbances that may move through the area,” according to an NWS advisory.

5 Responses to "Strong wintry storm lashes region"

  1. Tom   December 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Boy o boy due we need a slow non runoff rain storm! Here in fallbrook my avocoda trees look like they have been hit with a blowtorch. Thanks to fallbrook water co. Can only water 15 minutes per set and reduce water use by 1/3. I had to kill off 1/3 my trees. That equals 48 trees. However there is plenty of water for the thousands of sprinklers along the new express way. From Bonsall to Oceanside both sides West and East. Normal business practice . To heck with the land owner provide water so weeds can grow 3 feet high.

  2. Cimarron   December 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Speaking of sprinklers, if you have your set to automatically run at certain times, turn them off. It’s been raining all day, but my neighbor’s sprinklers are going!

  3. kma   December 14, 2012 at 12:17 am

    @Tom- the irrigation along hwy 76 is most likely recycled water…purple pipes…The landscaping is all native and VERY drought tolerant but even waterwise plants need irrigation the first yr. Plenty of destruction to native flora and fauna for construction of hwy 76 improvements all so people living in another county can get to their low paying jobs or the local casinos. Avos are one of my favorite foods, but if you find you cannot afford to grow them, find another crop…adapt or get out of "farming."

  4. 3 year home owner in Fallbrook.   December 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Poor Tom, he was only saying he was hoping for a nice slow rain storm. I agree, food that keeps us alive should be watered before pretty plants during a water shortage. It doesn’t seem quite right. ( I hope we get a good slow rainfall for you Tom.) Try to have a Merry Chrismas

  5. Preston   December 15, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Tom and anyone else growing food commercially should get a break on water rates as long as they meet certain requirements and are watering responsibility but we don’t. I automated some time ago, water only at night and test the soil moisture level before watering and still cant turn a profit. Not only are we hit with high water rates, we have to compete with the foreign crop that floods the market and drives the price down below the cost to produce.


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