Late Winter Storm Brings Sporadic Rain and Snow to San Diego County

According to NBC 7's First Alert Forecast, the heaviest rainfall is expected throughout Wednesday in San Diego County -- and the same goes for snowfall in the mountains

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The beginning of a two-day, late winter storm brought rain to San Diego County overnight -- plus snow to our local mountains. And it's not done yet. Here's what to expect for the next couple of days for San Diego's weather.

The storm blanketed the region late Tuesday and will last through at least Thursday, according to NBC 7's First Alert Forecast. The heaviest rain was expected on Wednesday.

A band moving across San Diego County brought precipitation overnight but by Wednesday morning, the rainfall was moderate and sporadic. That's how it would remain throughout the day, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.

In San Diego's North County, deceptive storm clouds hovered over for hours before dumping rain from Del Mar to the Escondido and Poway areas.

Wet, windy weather is just one more challenge for people going through a pandemic, reports NBC 7's Alexis Rivas.

Rain would pick up again at about sunset and last throughout the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Both Parveen and NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said the storm will bring measurable rainfall and big snow to San Diego County, and maybe even thunderstorms.

"Consider your Wednesday and Thursday to be a soggy one -- in a very good way," Midcap said.

It has been a dry winter in San Diego County (and across California) so, just like last week’s storm, the rainfall this time around will help chip away at the rainfall deficit we’re still experiencing in our region.

Parveen said the storm – over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, combined – could bring between a half-inch to 1.5 inches of rainfall across the county. As of Monday, Parveen said the region is at a rainfall deficit of -2.28 inches, measuring from the station at San Diego International Airport.

A winter storm passed through San Diego on March 10, 2021.

“We’re still in a deficit – in quite the hole – and we still need the rain,” Parveen said. “And we will see a good amount of rain throughout this week.”

Even the deserts should get some rain this Wednesday and Thursday.

The snow started falling mid-afternoon in Julian, reports NBC 7's Melissa Adan.

Winter Storm Watch: Snow in San Diego's Mountains

This week’s storm will also bring substantial snowfall to San Diego’s mountains between 3,500 and 4,000 feet in elevation. Parveen said significant snow – as in, potentially up to 5 inches or more – is expected at 4,500 feet of elevation and above.

“This is going to go through a couple days here, where we’re going to see some snowfall,” she said.

To that end, the NWS said a winter storm watch is in effect through 10 p.m. Thursday for San Diego’s mountains where heavy snow is possible. San Bernardino and Riverside County mountain areas are also under this watch.

A late, but welcomed, winter storm moved into San Diego County overnight and began to deliver rain and snow to the region.

The agency said total snow accumulations could be between 6 to 12 inches between 4,500 and 5,000 feet in elevation and 12 to 18 inches above 5,500 feet. The NWS said the heaviest snow is expected on Wednesday.

The NWS said the wintry conditions will lead to low visibility and snow-slickened roadways on major mountain passes, including Cajon Pass and I-8. Motorists should expect areas of dense fog, too, and strong west winds with gusts between 35 mph and 50 mph in some mountain areas.

“The combination of heavy snow and gusty winds may result in some downed tree limbs and power outages,” the NWS added. Motorists should carry snow chains and be prepared to use them. For updates on road conditions, drivers can call the Caltrans Highway Information Service at (800) 427-7623.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Caltrans announced all vehicles traveling on State Route 79 from Cuyamaca Road to Julian, and on State Route 78 from Banner Grande to east of Wynola Road, will be required to have chains on their tires.

NBC 7 will keep you posted on any potential road closures in the mountains due to snow.

Rainfall Totals

The brunt of the storm, so far, hit San Diego County overnight into Wednesday. The National Weather Service had the latest rainfall totals recorded through 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

During that time, Palomar Mountain saw at least 3.5 inches of snow, according to the agency.

Here are the county's most notable rainfall totals as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday:

Pine Valley: .67 inches
Vista: .58 inches
Julian: .55 inches
Oceanside: .46 inches
Descanso: .46 inches
Alpine: .40 inches
Fashion Valley: .42 inches
Chula Vista: .33 inches
El Cajon: .29 inches
Mission Beach: .21 inches
Alpine: .21 inches
Poway: .14 inches
Del Mar: .11 inches
San Onofre: .09 inches

NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen explainers San Diego's yearly rainfall, the wettest months and why.
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