El Niño Storms Prompt Weather Warnings Across San Diego

Another day of heavy rainfall swept San Diego Thursday

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Another day of strong El Niño storms prompted warnings and watches across San Diego County Thursday, including a weather warning for the San Diego International Airport.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said an aviation weather warning was in effect for Lindbergh Field for “cloud to ground lightning” from 6:30 a.m. through at least 7:30 a.m.

The warning meant thunderstorms with lightning would move or be within five miles of the airport for that hour-long period. The thunderstorms would move east out of the area after 7:45 a.m., the NWS said.

Other NWS warnings in effect Thursday due to the wild, wet weather included a flood warning for the flood-prone San Diego River near Fashion Valley, as well a high surf warning for the coast.

The winter storm warning remains in place in Pine Valley through 10 p.m. as snow sweeps the mountain region. There, the Mountain Empire Unified School District closed all schools Thursday, declaring it a snow day for students.

NBC 7  meteorologist Jodi Kodesh said very strong wind gusts up to 45 or 50 mph are possible in the mountains, so people should avoid driving to those areas for now, as the roads and conditions are dangerous.

"It's nearly impossible to drive because white-out conditions will develop in the mountains today," she warned.

Once those conditions improve, chains are required for those driving into the mountains.

Meanwhile, the NWS said a flash flood watch is in effect through noon in San Diego County's coastal areas, and an urban and small stream flood advisory was in effect through at least 7:45 a.m. in southwestern San Diego County.

Kodesh said the potential for showers will drop to about 20 percent Thursday night and into Friday. After noon Thursday, the worst of this particular storm will have passed, Kodesh said.

The next storm system is expected to arrive late Saturday.

On Wednesday, a similar pattern of weather watches and warnings followed heavy rainfall across the county. This included a brief, but very rare, tornado warning in effect for about 25 minutes in west central San Diego County, including areas like University City, La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Sorrento Valley, Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley and Mira Mesa. A second warning for the Escondido area was also issued at the same time and later canceled. There were no reports of tornadoes spotted in San Diego.

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