Strong Santa Ana winds were expected to continue blowing in the San Diego area Wednesday, along with a flash flood watch.
The National Weather Service said the high wind warning would remain in effect until 10 p.m. – with the strongest winds expected in the afternoon.
NBC 7 meteorologist Sheena Parveen said Wednesday morning that in some local mountain areas, the winds had reached more than 80 mph.
Along the coast, Parveen expected winds between 25 and 35 mph. Inlands, those gusts were expected to reach 35 to 45 mph, with isolated gusts over 60 mph in the mountains and near 45 mph in the foothills.
“Winds will lighten up significantly tonight,” Parveen added.
Meanwhile, Parveen said there’s still a chance for spotty showers Wednesday, but they are marginal for the coast and inland areas – and less widespread than they were a day prior.
The mountains and deserts are under a flash flood watch through midnight, Parveen said, for the possibility of localized flash flooding.
The NWS said the heaviest rainfall in the areas under the flash flood watch could measure between 1 to 2 inches, with isolated rainfall to 3 inches over San Diego County’s deserts and adjacent mountain areas.
The mountains, coast and valleys have a 50% chance of measurable precipitation by Wednesday evening, with showers likely in the mountains overnight.
The NWS also predicted rip currents and other ocean hazards, including dangerous boating conditions for the inner and outer coastal waters, through Wednesday.
Parveen said Thursday looks dry.
On Friday and into the weekend, the chances for rain return – along with much cooler temperatures, she added.
Next week, Parveen said there’s more rain in the forecast.
“Early next week, a more significant storm system will approach the West Coast and that one looks to provide rain and snowfall to our mountains,” she explained. “That is going to be one messy weather pattern.”
On Tuesday, the blustery conditions sent trees and utility standards toppling throughout Ramona, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. One of the downed power poles forced a closure of Hanson Lane between Barnett and San Vicente roads, the agency reported.
The National Weather Service reported local gusts as high as 77 mph in the East County -- at Big Black Mountain and Hellhole Canyon -- and 46 mph closer to the coast, at the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa.
Other wind-related problems included an overturned big rig on Interstate 8, near state Route 79 in Descanso, and a large fallen tree limb blocking an eastbound lane on state Route 94, in the area of Lucky Six Truck Trail in Dulzura, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Drivers of large, "high profile" vehicles, such as semi-trailers and RVs, were advised to avoid Interstate 8, from Alpine to the Imperial County line, during the duration of the gusty conditions.
Officials with San Diego Gas & Electric said they were closely monitoring the situation and preparing for an emergency response in case their power grid wound up impacted.
The utility urged locals to help prevent outages by removing dead trees and overhanging branches near structures, and securing patio furniture, loose yard objects, roofs, balconies, tarps, pool covers and Mylar balloons, which can cause blackouts if they come into contact with electrical-transmission equipment.