Holiday Storm

Storm Leaves Blanket of Snow on San Diego Mountains, Crowds Expected

Driving conditions are better for those snow-seekers on Friday and mountain towns were prepared for the flock of visitors

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San Diego's skies were bright and sunny Friday, a stark comparison to the downpours that inundated the county just 24 hours earlier, leaving behind flooded roadways, downed trees and inches of snow.

A day's time also cleared all watches and warnings for San Diego County, ensuring a calm, albeit chilly weekend ahead for locals and visitors.

Snow chains are required for people hoping to catch some snow in the mountains. NBC 7's Gaby Rodriguez has more.

The shift in weather was likely to draw big crowds to small mountain towns as people flock east for a chance to play in the snow on the last weekend of 2019.

Some of the first visitors to arrive awoke before daybreak just to beat the crowds.

“Came to play in the snow, take some pictures and enjoy this very rare conditions where it snows,” said Escondido resident Selina Barajas.

Driving conditions were better for those snow-seekers on Friday. Eastbound Interstate 8 leading to Pine Valley was back open after snowfall closed the roadway leading for several hours Thursday morning.

The same storm system shut down Interstate 5 in Taejon Pass and dozens of miles of Interstate 15 from Baker, California, to Primm, Nevada. 

Chains were still required to get to some mountain towns, like Mount Laguna, Julian and Palomar, though, and CHP urged drivers to be prepared and patient.

"Have warm clothes, blankets and food and water inside your vehicle in case there is a closure," CHP Officer April Loue said.

Wintry Weather Makes Its Way to San Diego

The citizens of those mountain towns were also preparing for what was expected to be a rush of people hoping to get a glimpse of the fresh powder.

In Julian, bakers at Mom's Pies were up before dawn preparing their signature apple pies and apple crumbles for the crowds. Diane Lee, a senior baker at Mom's Pies, said on a typical post-snow day, they expect to sell 400 to 500 pies.

“It gets ridiculous it really does," she said. "Were happy for everybody who comes up, they have a good time up here and every bit of snow that can be used gets used."

Lee said the craziness is what she enjoys.

“Being a baker is the ultimate people-pleasing job, it really is. People are happy when they come, they smile, they enjoy what they do here," Lee said. “We just pray the roads stay clear so we can get (supplies) here."

The county asked visitors to respect the residents that live in those communities by obeying city signs, staying off private property, not parking on trees, plants or shrubs and picking up their own trash.

Other tips for driving to the mountains can be found here.

While the sun will be shining Friday, high temperatures in the mountains will be in the mid- to upper-30s so be sure to dress warmly, NBC 7 Weathercaster Ashley Matthews said.

The next chance for showers comes Sunday night into Monday morning, Matthews said. Expect a few wet days ahead of the New Year.

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