Strong Winds Sweep San Diego County, Topple Trees

The gusts are part of an extended red flag warning impacting San Diego County through 5 p.m. Tuesday

Strong, gusty Santa Ana winds swept San Diego County Tuesday, toppling trees in some communities, including parts of the North County.

In San Marcos, gusts knocked down a large tree in a residential area along West Lake Drive. The tree fell on top of an unoccupied parked car.

In Rancho Bernardo, just west of Interstate 15 on Rancho Bernardo Road, another tree toppled amid the unrelenting winds. Crews worked throughout the morning to remove the fallen tree and clean up the debris from the roadway.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), San Diego County was under a high wind warning until 5 p.m. Tuesday impacting the valleys, mountains and cities like Escondido, Poway, Julian and Pine Valley.

The NWS said areas could experience east to northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph and isolated gusts around 80 mph near the ridge tops of the mountains. The strongest winds were expected through the early afternoon, gradually weakening through the afternoon.

A red flag warning for high winds and low humidity is in effect through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The weather – a perfect storm of fire-prone conditions – also led San Diego Gas & Electric to shut off power to some customers as a safety precaution.

As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, SDG&E said approximately 31,000 customers were impacted by power outages, primarily in the East County and backcountry communities of Ramona, Dulzura, Potreto and Jamul. Other areas reporting outages included San Marcos, Escondido, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Bernardo.

Of that figure, SDG&E said high wind had caused power outages to about 7,300 customers. SDG&E said the power outages would likely remain in effect until the red flag warning is lifted.

In 4S Ranch, at the 4S Commons Town Center, power was shut off at major stores like a Ralph’s supermarket and a Bed Bath & Beyond, likely until Wednesday.

In Encinitas, the Rancho Coastal Humane Society said it also was without power until at least 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Joe Britton, communications manager for SDG&E, said the company has opened six Community Resource Centers to help customers impacted by the outages. The locations are: 

  • The gymnasium at Mountain Empire High School (3305 Buckman Springs Rd., in Campo)
  • Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center (1800 Golden Acorn Way, also in Campo)
  • Potrero Resource Center (24550 Hwy. 94, in Potrero)
  • Camp Oliver Lodge (8761 Riverside Drive A, in Descanso)
  • Whispering Winds Catholic Camp (17606 Harrison Park Rd., in Julian)
  • Dulzura Community Center (1136 Community Building Rd., in Julian)

Britton said, for now, the centers will be open until 6 p.m. Tuesday and can serve as places where residents can go to get water and snacks, charge their phones, and get up-to-date information on power outages.

At around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the San Diego County Office of Education announced that several school districts and schools would be closed Wednesday due to power outages activated by SDG&E for public safety.

Those closures include these districts:

  • Julian Union School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Spencer Valley School District

And these schools:

  • Del Lago Academy - Campus of Applied Science in the Escondido Union High School District
  • Solana Santa Fe School in the Solana Beach School District
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