San Diego

Wet Weather: Saturday Storm First in Series of Rain to Wallop San Diego County

The first in a series of storms over the next week is expected to hit San Diego early Saturday morning

It was a wet start to the weekend as a storm walloped San Diego County Saturday, the first in a series of rain in the region's forecast over the next week or so.

A storm that moved through Northern California Friday worked its way south to San Diego overnight, with rain hitting the county just before 2 a.m. Saturday.

NBC 7's Brooke Landau said the First Alert 7 Doppler Radar showed widespread showers around the county right around 2 a.m., with rainfall very heavy at times.

"We were seeing nearly a quarter of an inch of rain falling per hour," Landau said.

NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick said Friday the real shower show would begin a bit after the early morning band of rain struck.

Dagmar Midcap's Forecast for January 11th, 2019

“After that, the heavier band is going to hit us and give us a pretty good wallop for a couple of hours – probably through 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.,” he explained.

Scattered rain – with some moments of clearing – is likely to stick around for most of Saturday afternoon and evening. Southwick forecasted the rain will then taper off, leading to a mostly clear but partly cloudy Sunday.

Southwick said the county could expect to see a “good amount of rain totals” in Saturday’s storm, including anywhere from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch at the coast, and higher totals inland and in the mountains.

As of 8:30 a.m. Saturday, the NWS was able to offer some stats on rainfall in San Diego over the past 24 hours.

The figures included:

  • 0.58 inches in Carlsbad
  • 0.51 inches in La Jolla
  • 0.50 inches in Escondido
  • 0.48 inches in Lemon Grove
  • 0.46 inches in Santee
  • 0.44 inches in Mission Beach
  • 0.41 inches at the San Diego International Airport
  • 0.38 inches in El Cajon
  • 0.36 inches in San Ysidro
  • 0.34 inches in Chula Vista
  • 0.34 inches in Fallbrook
  • 0.32 inches Rancho Bernardo
  • 0.32 inches in La Mesa
  • 0.29 inches in Pine Valley
  • 0.27 inches in Alpine
  • 0.19 inches in Warner Springs
  • 0.12 inches in Julian

A dusting of snow is also expected up at Palomar Mountain and Mount Laguna – in areas above 5,500 feet in elevation – early Sunday morning. NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap said a winter weather advisory would go into effect above 6,000 feet for southern California mountain ranges.

"We're going to see temperatures on the cool side," Landau added Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, at the coast, San Diego’s beaches have experienced high surf throughout the week. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the big waves will continue to pummel our shorelines through at least Sunday afternoon.

The NWS said the service’s so-called “beach hazard statement” for local beaches include the likelihood of 5 to 8-foot surf, strong rip currents, and dangerous swimming conditions, especially at beaches in southern San Diego County from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Minor flooding at the coast, as well as beach erosion, is also possible.

Those visiting San Diego beaches this weekend should obey all posted warnings and flags and speak with a lifeguard before attempting to swim in the rough waters.

The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health said Saturday morning that the storm was bringing urban runoff to local beaches. The agency issued a “general rain advisory” to avoid water contact at all coastal beaches and bays.

Urban runoff can cause bacteria levels to rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets. Runoff could contain bacteria from sources like animal waste, soil and decomposing vegetation.

The Department of Environmental Health said water contact like swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided during rain and for 72 hours following a storm. 

Saturday's rain also caused flooding in some parts of the county. The San Diego County Department of Public Works said the dip at Quarry Road in Spring Valley between State Route 125 and Lakeview Avenue was closed around 5 a.m. due to flooding. Just before 11 a.m., that road was reopened.

At around 7 a.m., officials closed the dip at Country Club Drive in San Marcos, also due to flooding. By 8:15 a.m., that road had reopened as the water subsided.

After the break in the rain on Sunday, Southwick said the wet weather will return by way of a second storm expected to move into the region late Monday night through early Tuesday.

There’s also a chance of rain Wednesday as a third storm moves into the region, with showers possibly lingering into Thursday, according to NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast.

“So, a very wet pattern setting up for this week,” Southwick said. “We could use it, we need it – this is one of our rainy months.”

At this point, weather models show a break in the rain next Friday and Saturday, and another chance of showers on Sunday, Jan. 20, Southwick said.

[G] Winter Weather in San Diego: Rain, Frost, Snow u0026 Frigid Temps

The NWS said above-normal precipitation is expected for the state of California over the next six days. The agency offered this outlook on the days ahead.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said it would have Swift Water Rescue teams ready to deploy to flood-prone areas starting Friday night.

Early Saturday morning, SDFD crews performed a challenging rescue of two hikers stuck on a trail about 200 feet down the cliffs at Torrey Pines State Reserve. The hiking path had become so slippery in the downpour, the pair couldn't get out without help from firefighters.

SDFD Battalion Chief David Connor said the trails at Torrey Pines and other popular hiking destinations in San Diego County will remain slick on the heels of Saturday’s storm.

Meanwhile, the City of San Diego temporarily closed the trails in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Del Mar Mesa Preserve, and Carmel Mountain Preserve following the heavy rain. With more rain expected next week, the city said the closure would likely remain in effect into the week of Jan. 20, particularly at Del Mar Mesa Preserve.

NBC 7's Gaby Rodriguez spoke to a family loading up on sandbags and talked to a bride-to-be about how they're preparing for a daunting storm.

In preparation for the rain that's still to come, San Diegans can fill their own sandbags at about two dozen locations throughout the county.

To get the latest weather updates, keep up with NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast here.

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