Flooded Freeway, Water Rescues, Dozens of Crashes During Ravaging Storm

At one point, CHP was responding to more than 35 car crashes around the county

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What was expected to be the final day of a slow-moving storm's stint over San Diego County was awash with downed trees, flooded roads and dozens of crashes -- one deadly -- on Friday.

Water from hours of heavy downpours was pooling on roadways across San Diego County, including on the major North County artery State Route 78. At about 9 a.m. Friday, CalTrans issued a SigAlert and shut down all lanes of SR-78 at El Camino Real Road due to flooding.

The freeway wasn't completely reopened until just after 10 p.m. It was the first time in one officer's memory that the full freeway needed to be closed due to overflow from the creek that runs along the road.

Rescue crews were busy with rescues of several people who became trapped in flooded areas.

In Mission Valley, a helicopter had to be called in to hoist a woman and her two dogs to safety. The woman was conscious and transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital. She was believed to be living in the area where the flooding occurred.

Another water rescue was conducted near the area of Interstate 15 and Market Street, according to the San Diego-Fire Rescue Department. A Jeep went down an embankment and two women were spotted near the vehicle.

"The car drifted and I wasn’t able to stop and when I pressed the breaks but it wouldn’t stop it kept on sliding down," one of the women told NBC 7.

Crews used inflatable boats to rescue the women while CHP sent a tow truck to retrieve their vehicle.

Near the often-flooded Fashion Valley area, guests were evacuated from The River Leaf Inn. The San Diego Police Department said anyone who was inside the hotel in need of assistance should call 911.

Elsewhere in North County, several authorities responded to a swift water rescue on Harmony Grove Road in Escondido, according to CalFire. Details on how many people were rescued or if any injuries occurred were not immediately clear.

Heavy rains flooded the Sunshine Gardens nursery on Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas and several animals, including goats, chickens and a tortoise, had to be rescued. Unfortunately, some birds on the property didn't make it. Water could be seen as high as the windows on one of the property's buildings.

Also in Encinitas, heavy rains caused a mudslide that damaged a nursing facility where dozens of patients lived. the damage was severe enough that around 20 residents ahd to be relocated to another facility in La Jolla.

Photos: Flooded Freeway, Water Rescues, Dozens of Crashes During Ravaging Storm

The Buena Vista lagoon flooded and left adjacent Coast Highway closed for hours between Eaton Street in Oceanside and State Street in Carlsbad closed for hours. The flooding was reported at around 2:30 p.m. and the highway was still closed as of 11 p.m. Officials don't think the road will be reopened until sometime Saturday.

Heavy rains also flooded streets in Pacific Beach. Resident Marty Caswell shared video on Twitter of three vehicles in water up to their tires. At least one sedan attempted to drive through the mess, the video showed.

Nearby, a mudslide blocked the off-ramp from northbound Interstate 5 to Grand/Garnet, CalTrans said.

California Highway Patrol officers were dealing with a slew of incidents due to the rain. CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt warned drivers to "please slow down. We are already seeing too many crashes this morning."

At one time, the agency was responding to at least 35 active crashes across the county, Bettencourt said. Slick roads and reduced visibility were contributors to many of those crashes, authorities said.

To highlight the severity of the situation, Bettencourt shared photos of the CHP's communication system, showing a long list of incidents occurring between 5:30 and 8:00 a.m. Another image showed six incidents within a six-minute span.

“Remember during the rain even 65 mph isn’t a safe speed,” Bettencourt Tweeted.

At least one of Friday morning's crashes was, unfortunately, deadly. A father was killed and two children were sent to the hospital after a car lost control and crashed into a tree on Del Mar Heights Road. The condition of the children was not known.

Photos: Flooded Freeway, Water Rescues, Dozens of Crashes During Ravaging Storm

Downpours continued to ravage the county on Friday amid flood advisories and warnings, flash flood watches and a winter weather advisory.

The unforgiving storm downed a tree in the area of 4600 Aldine Dr., where northbound lanes were shut down as crews tended to the mess.

Although the tree was swiftly removed, crews remained at the scene to evaluate a nearby hill’s stability. Ultimately, police said the road was closed in both directions from Monroe Avenue to Fairmount Avenue until further notice.

Swift-water rescues and flooding around the county were two symptoms of the wet weather, NBC's Melissa Adan reports.

By 9 p.m. Friday, after six days of winter storm, Encinitas topped coastal areas with a whopping 7.9 inches of rain. Carlsbad and San Marcos also received more than 6 inches.

In the valleys, Deer Springs, Lower Otay Flats and Couser Canyon all saw more than 7 inches of rain, and Palomar topped mountain areas with 8.5 inches. Desert areas didn't receive a significant amount of rain over the 6-day stretch.

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