San Diego

Heavy Rain, Strong Wind Downs Trees, Damages Property Across San Diego

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of central and north San Diego County as heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms move through San Diego Sunday. The warning comes during a highly anticipated El Nino-fueled storm system, the first substantial rainfall to hit San Diego since the start of the year. 

A rescue was underway just before 7 p.m. for a car that went into a creek in the Elfin Forest in Escondido North Comm said.

The strong winds and saturated ground have caused trees to fall across the county. In Pacific Beach, one person died after a giant tree fell onto four cars and crushed a pedestrian passing by. 

Damage from strong winds began early Sunday morning in Escondido as a downed tree blocked several lanes on Bernardo Lane. A family woke up to find an 80 to 100 foot Torrey Pine tree topped across their driveway.

The wind ripped out the tree's roots and a slab of concrete; the ripping sound and the fall prompted the family to come running out. 

"Constant thunder clap, like bababababa, and it was this thing coming down and it just missed everything," said Brett Drury, the homeowner.

In Midway, streets were blocked off due to downed power lines on Sports Arena Boulevard near Ollie Street. No injuries have been reported. 

If you see storm damage, call the City of San Diego's hotline at (619) 527-7500.

NBC 7 San Diego has received photos from the East County, one tree fell at Town Center Parkway in Santee.

A tree fell onto a family van, injuring a mother. The baby in the van was safe. Trees also fell at the Costco in Santee.

In Del Cerro, a tree fell on a house at Waring Road and Galewood. The owner said the tree has been there since the late 1960s.

A downed tree at Genessee and Calgary in UTC blocked the road as well, prompting police to divert traffic. 

A reported downed power line on El Camino Real near eastbound State Route 78 was causing a backup around 2:10 p.m. A caller said the pole snapped in half, pulling down another pole with it. 

At the Farmers Insurance Open, officials closed the Torrey Pines Golf Course to the public for the remainder of the day.

During the inclement weather, PATH San Diego said they will take in 200 people experiencing homelessness at their 6th Avenue location. Father Joe's Villages' main campus at 1501 Imperial Avenue will open 200 beds tonight. The San Diego Housing Commission helped make this possible because of El Nino, a PATH spokeswoman said. 

Along the coast, residents began picking up sandbags to help fight flooding. Barry Benn, a Point Loma resident, placed his along a window where water rushed in during the last El Nino storm.

"When the rain comes straight down, there's no problem," Benn said. "But when you guys keep saying it's going to be windy, it comes in from Coronado at a 45 degree angle. That whips right in between the window and patio." 

The City of San Diego placed some portable pumps at various low-lying locations. The station moves water from the street into the ocean quickly, so water does not build up. One such pump is located at Abbott and Santa Monica Street in Ocean Beach.

The Storm Water Manager said they rented more of the pump stations than they ever had before. City workers were on standby Sunday in case the storm gets severe. 

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for western San Diego County until 4:45 p.m. as a wall of severe thunderstorms capable of bringing winds up to 60 miles per hour. Oceanside, Escondido, El Cajon, Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Temecula, San Marcos, Santee, Poway, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona, Solana Beach, Alpine, Camp Pendleton, Del Mar, and nearby areas were affected. 

A high wind warning was in effect for the San Diego County mountains until 6 p.m. Monday.

Late Monday morning through Monday afternoon, winds heading west to northwest are expected to reach 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.

The strongest winds will hit mountain ridge tops and desert mountain slopes.

As of 2 p.m. some of the highest rainfall totals were reported at Palomar Observatory with 2.56 inches, Julian with1.45 inches and Brich Hill with 1.98 inches. Alpine and Fallbrook both got .64 inches. Lake Wohlford and Valley Center got 1.06 and .95 inches respectively. Along the coast the San Marcos landfill recieved some of the highest rainfall with .56 inches.

After the storm passes, next week looks mostly sunny. For weather updates from NBC 7, click here.

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