San Diego

Rain, Flooding Hits San Diego County on Christmas Week

The first storm system brought rain to parts of San Diego County starting early Monday morning

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It's going to be a rainy couple of days leading up to Christmas in San Diego, according to NBC 7's First Alert Forecast.

Amid cool temperatures, rain began to fall early Monday morning in San Diego's North County. NBC 7's Ashley Matthews forecasted more widespread showers by 8 a.m. and that's exactly what happened.

Dagmar Midcap's Evening Forecast for Dec. 23, 2019

Monday's rain is one of two storm systems making its way to the region this holiday week. The systems are expected to bring both rain and even some snow to areas above 5,000 feet in elevation. Areas above 6,000 feet in elevation could see between 4 and 12 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said.

That means the possibility of a "white Christmas" in San Diego -- at least in the mountains -- is likely.

Matthews said overall rainfall from this first storm should measure around 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Between the two storms, coastal areas may pick up to 1 inch to 2.5 inches of rain, according to the NWS.

By 3 p.m. Monday, more than an inch of rain was recorded in the coastal areas of Point Loma, La Jolla, Mission Beach and Encinitas and Oceanside. Inland areas like Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido received about .75 inches of rain.

The NWS cautioned the rain would be moderate to heavy by the time the Monday morning commute rolled around, so drivers were urged to be extra careful on the slick roadways.

The NWS also issued a flood advisory, saying rain could cause widespread pooling of water on roadways and local flooding in low-lying areas.

And that, it did.

Over in Pacific Beach, a driver in a white BMW got stuck in an intersection that’s known to flood during heavy storms.

The car stalled out in knee-deep water at Pacific Beach Drive and Dawes Street near Sail Bay, just south of the Catamaran Resort. The driver was able to get out safely.

He told NBC 7 the BMW is his girlfriend's car. He said he was headed straight to the flower shop to get her an "I'm sorry" bouquet after trying to drive through the flooding.

The flooding was caused by a combination of rain and high tides from the coast; there was no main break or storm drainage issues, according to the city of San Diego. The city added "No Parking" signs to prevent any further damage to property.

Neighbors say the same area floods every time there is enough precipitation.

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda spoke to residents in the East County who were hit with steady rain.

"I came out here around 6 to leave for work and I came outside it was pouring. You could see water running like a crazy river down the street," resident Ashley Mitchelle said.

Meanwhile, over the Midway District, a car carrying two women on their way to work also got stuck in flooding. Tanya Garside and Alyssa Walker told NBC 7 their car suddenly stalled in the water and they had to call 911 for help.

"We couldn't open our doors or anything because the water would just come rushing in," Walker explained.

"And every time somebody drove by, the car would shake," Garside added.

"And the firemen came and got us," Walker said.

Police said storms like Monday's are a good reminder to drive slow and use extra caution on the road.

Despite "Road Closed" signs at the often flooded Escondido Creek in North County, several cars could be seen ignoring the signs and driving through flooded roadways. While the vehicles made it through, officials cautioned that river flows can change quickly and can easily sweep vehicles away.

"Be patient and really forecast as you're driving intersections," Sharp said. "If there's an alternate way around bodies of water, please do that so we don't have to come out and do the rescue."

Sharp said every time police and firefighters have to respond to a stalled car in floodwaters, it drains the department's resources for other emergencies.

Because of the chilly temperatures and the wet conditions, the San Diego Housing Commission activated its Inclement Shelter Program, which provides shelter and a meal for up to 134 homeless people.

A homeless advocacy group encourages others to think of some of the most vulnerable people amid rainy weather. NBC 7's Chris Chan has details.

In the North County, Interfaith Community Services has 49 beds to serve the homeless but Greg Anglea says it is not nearly enough to serve the hundreds without shelter during the rain.

The homeless advocacy group urged people to consider making donations to those most in need amid a rainy holiday. The shelter is in need of ponchos, tents, clean socks and underwear, Anglea said.

"These things, they get wet, they get dirty and when you're out in the cold there's really no other options," he said.

Scattered showers are expected on Christmas Eve, Matthews said.

On the night of Christmas, the second storm system is expected to arrive. Matthews said that rain will linger through Thursday.

By Friday, it should be dry.

Check back for updates on the storm.

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