Storm’s Second Day Closes OB Pier

Strong winds and rain have already caused a lot of damage

The second wave of a powerful winter storm moved ashore in San Diego Saturday, bringing with it high surf and strong winds.

San Diego lifeguards closed the Ocean Beach Pier, starting at 5:30 p.m. Lifeguard Marine Safety Lt. John Sandmeyer said concerns over high surf, high tides and high swells factored into the decision. 

A coastal flood warning was in effect through Sunday morning for residents and businesses along the shore.

High surf left at least two beachgoers stranded on Sunset Cliffs Saturday afternoon. Both had to be rescued by San Diego Fire and Rescue crews.

Lifeguards had to perform additional rescues of 11 surfers who could not make it back to shore in the La Jolla Coves area.

And as the rain continued to fall, traffic became more and more impacted.

Around 5:42 p.m., California Highway Patrol closed Fashion Valley Road due to flooding.

In the North County, an overturned water truck forced CHP to issue a Sig Alert at 5:45 p.m. for the westbound State Route 56 between Rice Canyon and Pala Mission roads. 

Officers said they've gotten reports of water two feet high in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Oceanside.

On the opposite side of the county, the Deparment of Enviornmental Health extended its water contact closure of the Silver Strand and Coronado, as well as the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge shoreline.

The rain has pushed sewage-contaminated runoff from the Tijuana River into the ocean along those areas. 

Officials will keep warning signs up to prevent people from going in the water from the refuge to the Silver Strand until tests show the ocean water is safe again.

During the first day of thunderstorms -- Friday -- heavy rain and strong winds caused damage in some sections of the county.

In Chula Vista, a 100-foot eucalyptus tree toppled in the wind and crashed down on two townhomes Friday night. Fortunately, the residents were not home at the time when the 40-year-old tree fell. SDG&E cut off the power and maintenance crews secured the structure for the night.

In Scripps Ranch, more than forty workers couldn’t leave work Friday after a eucalyptus tree crashed down in the parking lot, blocking in their cars. Witnesses said the tree was about six or seven stories tall and destroyed a fence at the storage facility. No one was injured.

On Palomar Mountain, workers had to clear rocks and mud from a small slide that temporarily closed both lanes of South Grade Road. According to a rain gauge at the Palomar Observatory, the mountain received more than seven inches of rain in the first hours of the storm.

In the Tijuana River Valley, rising water forced city crews to close roads. Several powerlines were down in the area.

One farmer, blocked by rising water along Monument Road, was concerned about some horses waiting to be fed. Even though his morning work was delayed, the man told NBC 7 he was grateful to see the rain in the middle of a drought emergency in the state.

In Otay Mesa, residents also dealt with their share of the storm. A major truck crossing at the intersection of La Media Road and Airway Road flooded up to three feet in some areas. Fortunately, there were no accidents there to report.

Rainfall totals in parts of California were impressive, especially in areas that typically don't receive much, but not nearly enough to offer long-term relief from a long-running drought.

Forecasters said such systems would have to become common for the state to make serious inroads against the drought.

The National Weather Service has also put San Diego County on a high surf advisory until Monday morning and a flash flood watch until late Saturday.

Keep checking back for updates as the storm shakes out around the county.

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