San Diego

3rd Winter Storm to Bring Inches of Snow to San Diego Mountains

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 4 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Wednesday.

A winter storm warning was issued Monday for parts of San Diego. After a weekend of destructive rain, the region was bracing for its third storm in less than a week. 

The third storm system was expected to bring the region days of showers with the possibility of thunderstorms and several inches of mountain snow.

Heavy rains in the North County led to a mudslide along State Route 78 in Julian. Caltrans said the highway was with one-way traffic control starting at around 8:15 p.m. after mud and rocks spilled onto the roadway at Wynola Road.

Caltrans did not have an estimate for when traffic would be back to normal.

Spotty showers began overnight Monday and left the ground saturated ahead of the morning commute.

More than a dozen crashes were reported on San Diego freeways before 6 a.m., according to NBC 7's Whitney Southwick.

“Pretty dangerous driving conditions through parts of the area this morning. Take your time,” NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said.

Heavy downpours picked up in the afternoon and become more widespread.

In El Cajon, the intersection of Broadway and Graves Avenue turned into a small lake, leaving drivers blind to the potholes and debris beneath the surface of the water.

"The streets got holes in them sometimes you can't really see some of the streets," a woman named Virginia told NBC 7. The conditions were so bad she parked her car and used the trolley to finish her shopping.

For others, it wasn't so tough.

"I've got a truck, number one, so it hasn't been to bad for me," El Cajon resident Bob Kelly said. The four-wheeling East County resident had a few tips for those in less-equipped vehicles.

"Drive the speed limit. Number two, quit diving in lanes. Number three, do not tailgate," he said.

Off-and-on showers would continue through Tuesday and the storm may even linger into Wednesday but showers will move out of the area before sunrise, Parveen said.  

"You’re probably wondering, ‘When are we going to dry out?’ We’re going to be dry on Wednesday so we still have two more days where you need the umbrella," Parveen said. 

A winter storm advisory was in place until 4 a.m. Wednesday, and a flood advisory in the county west of the mountains expired Monday at 6:30 p.m.

During that time, significant snow may impact travel. Driving may be difficult as visibility will be significantly reduced, NWS said.  

According to the NWS, Oceanside and Bonsall sat atop the five-day rainfall totals as of Monday night with 3.32 inches and 4.01 inches of rain, respectively. Alpine saw just under two inches.

Another quarter-inch to an inch of rain was expected to fall over inland cities before 5 p.m. Tuesday, while Julian and Pine Valley were expected to see more than an inch.

The series of winter storms have churned coastal waters. A high surf advisory that went into effect over the weekend would last until 11 a.m. Monday.

It is possible that waves of up to 7 feet could create dangerous swimming conditions, localized beach erosion and flooding during this time. 

Mountain ranges with elevation above 5,000 feet may see some snow from this storm system. Parveen said as temperatures cool into Tuesday, it is possible snow may fall at elevations as low as 3,000 feet.

Residents in Julian spent Monday afternoon and evening getting their families and homes ready for the dusting. They also say they have to prepare their town for the days after the snowfall when tourists flock there to see it.

Anywhere from 1 to 3 inches are expected at lower elevations and up to 6 inches are possible at elevations above 6,000 feet, she said. Caltrans said to remember to bring chains if you are planning on driving to the snow.

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