Storm Blows into San Diego County

One to two inches of rain could fall along the coast, the mountain region could see three to five inches of rain

By R. Stickney and Nicole Gonzales
|  Saturday, Mar 17, 2012  |  Updated 2:03 PM PDT
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Whitney Southwick's Morning Forecast for Friday Mar. 16, 2012

Whitney Southwick's Morning Forecast for Friday Mar. 16, 2012

Warning: Wet Weekend Ahead

A healthy amount of rain and snow from a winter storm is expected to move ashore Friday night and stick around until Sunday. Michael Drake with the Dept. of Public Works and Fire Station 21 Capt. Dan Green talk with NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales about preps. Jenna Thompson with McFarlane Productions explains how ShamROCK 2012 in the Gaslamp plans to weather the storm.
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San Diego's long-awaited storm is expected to hit in full force Saturday at about 2 p.m. and last through Monday. 

Interactive radar shows a red line of rain and aggressive weather moving down Southern California.

"Whats been a light steady rain up until the middle of the day could turn into violent weather over the next hour up and down the county," said forecaster Whitney Southwick Saturday afternoon.

A strong line of thunder storms stretching from San Bernardino County down to the US-Mexico border is moving easterly, Southwick said.

The storm will bring heavy showers, strong winds, and perhaps thunder, lightening and hail. And Saturday's surge is just one of what could be a number of heavy storms throughout the weekend.

"We'll be dealing with weather like this through Monday," Southwick said.

Get local interactive radar, Download our improved iPhone app for video forecasts

A high wind warning has been issued for the mountains and deserts this weekend. Wind gusts will be between 55 and 65 mph with isolated gusts up to 75 mph according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Before Sunday, snow is expected as low as the 2500 to 3000 foot level. A winter storm warning is in effect for the mountains above 4000 feet over the weekend.

Ramona may even get some snow, Southwick said.

San Diego County Department of Public Works crews are prepared to handle the storm.

"We'll first plow the snow, scrape the ice and sand the highway because we want the highways to be safe and open when the traveling public goes to enjoy the mountains," said Michael Drake with the Dept. of Public Works.

A foot or more inches of snow could fall on Mount Laguna while 10 inches of snow may fall in Julian by Monday morning Southwick said.

One to two inches of rain could fall along the coast. The mountain region could see three to five inches of rain.

Sandbags were a hot commodity in Pacific Beach this week. Fire Station 21 had 1,000 sandbags to hand out to residents at the beginning of the week.

"Most of the residents that have lived here over a year, or a couple years are used to it," said Fire Station 21 Capt. Dan Green. "We haven't had any big storms in a while, but most here know what to do."

The NWS has issued a hazardous weather outlook from San Mateo Point to the Mexico border.

Boaters can expect heavy winds and heavy seas all weekend long. Waterspouts may occur Saturday and Sunday. A gale watch is in effect for the coastal waters Saturday through Sunday night. 

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