Storm Pounds San Diego

Greg Cergol / NBC 4 New York

Virtually the entire state of California has been affected by a powerful series of storms that began Friday, dumping moisture from far Northern California south to San Diego.

More than 12 inches of rain have fallen in parts of the Santa Monica Mountains in the south, and 13 feet of snow has accumulated at Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

The National Weather Service predicted an even fiercer storm would roll into Southern California beginning Tuesday night. Forecasters warned of possible rainfall rates of .75 inch to 1 inch an hour and thunderstorm rates of 2 inches an hour in the region.

Click here for Tuesday's forecast.

San Diego police say they are evacuating 10 to 12 homes in Shelltown because of rising water. The homes, located near Cottonwood and Yama Streets, have at least three feet of standing water inside according to police.

To the north, at 33rd and Webster, San Diego police and firefighters are responding to the report of three homes flooded near a canal where the water is over capacity.

Flooding has shut down one of the busiest roads through Camp Pendleton. A large section of Vandegrift Blvd, is closed until further notice.The closure covers a span east of Stuart Mesa Rd. and west of MCAS Camp Pendleton. Camp Pendleton Police Officers are re- routing traffic in the area. The base has a hotline set up for information on road closures. The number is (760) 725-9045.

Near San Ysidro, Border Patrol agents reported three people stuck in bushes and surrounded by water under the Dairy Mart bridge at the intersection of Camino de la Plaza and Dairy Mart Road.

The men had been out all night in the rain. One was fairly hypothermic, lifeguards said.

Lifeguards crossed the channel on a rescue boat, reached the men and pulled them through the shallow water until they could jump in the boat and get to safety.

San Diego area lifeguards have been keeping an eye on weather radar reading to stay on top of the storm system that's been hitting the region.

Throughout the day Monday, they patrolled local rivers around mission and Sorrento valleys as well as other parts of the city -- to make sure no one got caught in the fast moving water.

It may be season's greeting but the wet weather delivered rather unhappy return at Fashion Valley Mall Monday night. Crystal Soto and Angela Quadros Velho work at the mall.

"The holidays at the mall kinda make you like Scrooge," said Velho.

They're agitated because each time a major rainstorm hits the County, the San Diego river floods around Avenida Del Rio. The women work at the mall. "I got here an hour before work just so I'll be on time," said Velho.

They noticed the barriers near one of the mall's parking structures but weren't sure if they could drive past the roadblock.

"If you see barriers up... don't drive around them. It's not worth it. It's not safe,” said lifeguard Sgt. Jon Vipond."

But movement was much slower on I-15 near I-8 during the evening commute after a big rig jack-knifed. The slick road caused the semi to hit a center divider and spilling about 50 gallons of fuel.

"We're going to do our best to keep it from the river bottom, the wildlife and the river," said Capt. Jeff Butler.

In San Marcos, some roads were simply impassable late Monday. At the corner of San Marcos Boulevard and Santa Fe Road, the gusty winds and driving rain made it difficult to get around town. Stores were empty as customers decided to wait out the storm.

“It’s horrible,” said resident Andy Huynh. “Drivers are really bad and there are people who are really grumpy because of the rain. You just gotta bear with it and do your best.”

The wet conditions also contributed to a crash in Miramar where a van slid into a bakery.

The California Highway Patrol reported about 200 car crashes happened during Monday's rainy weather in San Diego County. During good weather, they see between 50-75.

Winds are causing problems too. Strong gusts ripped off part of a tarp at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

It's an extension to the hospital that's still under construction. Nearby residents could hear the tarp flapping from blocks away.

Michael Drake with the San Diego County Department of Public Works said the agency has been preparing for this weather all year.

"The DPW crews are right there right now, they're patrolling the roads and if they see a problem they'll be taking care of it," said Drake.

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