The last in a series of winter storms to reach the region this week is sweeping south across San Diego County bringing with it gusty winds, high surf and heavy downpours in some areas.
Showers began in North County San Diego at about 9 a.m. but remained light and scattered until the afternoon when more widespread heavy showers touched down, NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said.
Areas like Valley Center and Escondido were experiencing more moderate and lasting rainfall as the storm continued to move towards the south. Light precipitation was falling in mid-San Diego by about 11:30, according to First Alert Doppler 7.
The storm prompted SeaWorld San Diego to announce the park would be closed Thursday as a safety precaution during the expected downpours. The theme park will reopen on Friday, a SeaWorld spokesperson said.
Strong, gusty winds were expected to accompany the rain in the mountains but unlike past storms, no snow would fall, Parveen said.
A wind advisory was in effect for 24 hours starting at 7 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. During that time, winds will average 30 to 40 miles per hours but some gusts could reach 55 miles per hour, Parveen said.
At Sunset Cliffs, surfers were taking advantage of elevated waves despite warnings from the National Weather Service of potentially dangerous surf.
A high surf advisory went into effect Thursday afternoon, when surf had the potential to reach 13 to 15 feet on west-facing beaches south of Encinitas, NWS said.
There is also a possibility that high tides could cause coastal flooding in some spots. The advisory is set to expire at 4 a.m. on Saturday.
Imperial Beach is preparing for a King Tide that is expected to push sewage-contaminated ocean water into city streets.
Light showers will remain through the evening commute and by about 11 p.m., the storm will begin to taper off. There is the possibility for light rainfall overnight, Parveen said.
NBC 7 Meteorolgist Dagmar Midcap said the entire coast of California was drenched by moisture carried east by an atmospheric river, also known as a Pineapple Express, which is a stream originating near Hawaii that picks up moisture as it crosses the Pacific Ocean and dumps it on the west coast.
This bout of rain is expected to bring more than a half-inch of rain to North County San Diego and the mountain ranges while coastal and inland areas may see up to a quarter-inch of rain, Parveen said.
San Diego started the week with powerful downpours that had the potential to spark flash floods. By Tuesday, the storm was sprinkling light rain on the region before drying out slightly on Wednesday.
Through Thursday morning, before the last storm had reached the county, North County valleys and the mountain areas had already received nearly two inches of rain.
Parveen said the amount received since Jan. 1 was already above average for this far into the New Year.