San Diegans were trapped on flooded roadways, waded through waist-deep water and were forced to shut down businesses as a slow-moving storm dumped inches of rain on San Diego County Thursday.
By Friday morning, the storm was making its way out of the region, with few light showers expected throughout the day, but not before causing havoc during its two days in San Diego.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the south-central part of the county until 9 p.m. Thursday that was then downgraded to a flash flood watch for the rest of the day.
In Oceanside, quick hitting evening rain formed a sidewalk-to-sidewalk river along Coast Highway that stretched for several blocks. Multiple cars attempting to drive through the pool became disabled and crews with life rafts were seen making rescues.
At on point, an SUV sped through with a surfer in tow riding in the wake.
At least five businesses in the North County Plaza shopping center off state Route 78 were damaged by flooding.
"Today was one of those real rare exceptions where the water was cresting two feet onto the building," business owner Meridee Johnson said. "We had sandbags that were actually floating away."
Johnson said she expected her store to be dried out by the morning. A shoe store, a gym and a daycare business were damaged.
Flooding at a Greyhound bus station downtown trapped several people. A swift water rescue team responded with rafts and life jackets to help the people to safety. One man told NBC 7 he was trapped in the station for more than two hours.
In the central part of the county, the Red Cross opened a shelter in National City for anyone affected by flooding. That shelter, located Paradise Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church at 2701 East 8th Street, provided evacuees with shelter, food and water, as well as emotional support and health services, according to the agency.
From downtown San Diego to Alpine, flashes of lightning were visible and loud thunder could be heard for miles starting at about 6 p.m. Thursday. The National Weather Service said it recorded 75 cloud-to-ground or cloud-to-water lightning strikes in a 24 hour period.
The storm dumped inches of rain on the South Bay, including more than three inches in Chula Vista, through 4 a.m. on Friday, according to the NWS.
The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH) issued a water contact closure for the Imperial Beach Shoreline, saying sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River had been entering the Tijuana Estuary due to the rainfall.
“Observations indicate contamination of ocean water is likely in Imperial Beach,” the county’s closure notice read.
The DEH extended the contact closure to Silver Strand and Coronado shorelines on Friday afternoon.
Yellow signs were placed along the shoreline, warning swimmers to stay out of the water. Lifeguards or the Sheriff's Department can issue tickets to people who enter the water where beaches are closed.
The worst of the storm had passed the southern San Diego region by about 11 p.m. while some moderate showers were still falling in Mira Mesa and Poway overnight.
Coastal areas would begin to see clearer skies Friday morning with clouds leaving the rest of the county later in the day, according to NBC 7's Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.
During the storm's two days in San Diego, the San Diego International Airport recorded 2.6 inches of rain, nearly one-third of the year's average for that location and more than half of this year's recorded rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.
Oceanside received 2.83 inches of rain, Point Loma received 1.72, San Ysidro received 1.61 inches and Carlsbad received 1.47 inches, according to the NWS.
Inland valleys were met with heavy precipitation, also. The NWS reported La Mesa received 2.45 inches of rain, Fallbrook received 1.9 inches, Rancho Bernardo and Poway received about 1.5 inches of rain and El Cajon and Ramon received just about 1.4 inches of rain.
In the mountains, the Palomar Observatory recorded 2 inches of rain and Julireceivedved 1.61 inches. The deserts received anywhere from .31 inches of rain, in Ocotillo Wells, to more than an inch of rain, in Borrego Palm Canyon.
See more rainfall totals through 4 a.m. on Friday, here.
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