A storm hitting San Diego County on Tuesday could bring 1 to 2 inches of rain to the coast and valleys and another 2 to 4 inches to the mountains, according to the National Weather Service (NWS.)
“We have two elements to this system,” explained NBC 7 meteorologist Jodie Kodesh.
“When this plume of moisture is combined with the storm system and the two meet, we’re looking at good amounts of rain in Southern California,” Kodesh said.
NWS has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the county from 9 a.m. Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday. The heaviest rain started to fall Tuesday evening during rush hour.
According to California Highway Patrol, there were 224 crashes on freeways and unincorporated county streets. On a typical, dry day, the CHP sees 50 to 75.
By 5 p.m., Fallbrook had about a 1/4 of an inch, while other areas saw 1/10 to 2/10.
“The good news is, these are fairly slow moving, so they’ll take their time passing through the region, which helps with saturation issues and hopefully preventing any mudslide or flooding issues," said NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap.
Nevertheless, people from the North County to the South Bay spent the day preparing for possible flooding. Public works employees cleared storm drains, including the one between Sweetwater Road and Bonita Road in Bonita which has been known to flood.
“If we get a very heavy downpour for a very long period of time, that’s where we get concerned about any blockage," said Iracsema Quilantan, Assistant Director of Public Works for Chula Vista.
In Mission Beach, business owners prepared for possible flooding by placing sandbags in storefronts.
Jason Daung owns Cheesy Express on Mission Boulevard, north of West Mission Bay Drive. He said even just a few inches of storm runoff can flood all the way to the back of his business, so he placed a flood gate across the shop’s front door.
“Sometimes this whole area floods,” Daung said. “It'll come through this whole area and flood everywhere.”
Free sandbags are available at the following locations to people who live in flood-prone areas.
- Fire Station 15 – 4711 Voltaire St. in Ocean Beach
- Fire Station 20 – 3305 Kemper St. in the Sports Arena area
- Fire Station 21 – 750 Grand Ave. in Pacific Beach
- Fire Station 28 – 3880 Kearny Villa Rd. in the Kearny Mesa/Montgomery Field area
- Fire Station 29 – 198 West San Ysidro Blvd. in San Ysidro
- Fire Station 33 – 16966 Bernardo Center Dr. in Rancho Bernardo
- Fire Station 37 – 11640 Spring Canyon Rd. in Scripps Ranch
- Fire Station 39 – 4949 La Cuenta Dr. in Tierrasanta
- Fire Station 40 --13393 Salmon River Rd. in Rancho Peñasquitos
- Fire Station 46 – 14456 Lazanja Dr. in Santaluz
- Fire Station 47 – 6041 Edgewood Bend Ct. in Pacific Highlands
- Lifeguard Stations in Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla Shores
- There is a limit of 10 per household or business. Sandbags are only available when personnel are at the station.
CHULA VISTA: Residents can pick up sandbags between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Public Works Center at 1800 Maxwell Rd.
LA MESA: Sandbags will be available anytime at the Public Works Operations Center at 8152 Commercial Street, near the fuel pumps. The sandbags are first-come first-serve, and residents are asked to honor a 10-bag per household limit.
SAN MARCOS: People are invited to fill their own sandbags at the southwest corner of the Public Works Division parking lot at 201 Meta Way. There is a 20-bag maximum.
[GALLERY UPDATED 8/27] Dramatic Photos of California's Drought
Erosion is another concern in San Diego County, especially in the areas that burned and were left barren by the May wildfires.
Dan Eubank lost his home in the Cocos Fire and says heavy rain makes rebuilding even more of a challenge. However, he's more worried about rockslides.
The storm comes in the midst of a devastating drought.
“Coronado Hills Drive is right on a really steep mountain with a lot of loose rocks, and they haven’t done anything to keep it from coming onto the road," Eubank said. "I’m afraid rocks are going to fall on cars during a heavy downpour.”
Eighty percent of San Diego County is experiencing drought conditions, compared to only about 28 percent last year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“We need the rain,” said Imperial Beach resident Maria Andrade who was getting in a little exercise Tuesday morning before the storm. “It hasn’t been normal here. The weather has been like summer, and it’s not summer.”
The Los Angeles area got a storm preview on Sunday. More than an inch of rain fell in Malibu, causing mudslides along Pacific Coast Highway.