Tropical Storm Kay Brings High Wind, Flash Flood Warning to San Diego County

Free sandbags are being offered to county residents at several locations to prevent flooding and erosion

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A hurricane that made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast Thursday has downgraded to a tropical storm that is taking aim for San Diego County.

Located about 100 miles southwest of San Diego, Tropical Storm Kay will bring warm, windy and humid conditions throughout Friday evening, peppered with an occasional heavy rainfall and some thunderstorms across Southern California, according to the National Weather Service of San Diego.

Heavy winds and buckets of rain will impact the region. Flooding could occur Friday and Saturday and tropical, warm moisture will linger across the area. From Sunday to Tuesday, scattered thunderstorms may arrive each day, even as Kay slowly leaves the region. San Diego dwellers will likely notice the unusual humidity through to next week, but temperatures will be much more seasonal.

NBC 7 spread out around San Diego for team coverage.


San Diego County broke multiple records in rainfall Friday. Tropical Storm Kay brought rain across SoCal, but the heaviest fell on San Diego County, including coastal areas, where it rained off and on Friday, the NWS said.

Mount Laguna saw 4.92 inches of precipitation by the end of Friday, according to the NWS.

San Diego International Airport received 0.61 inches of rain while Oceanside received 0.18 inches of rain.

Agua Caliente in the desert had 3.55 inches of rain while Julian in the mountains saw 2.45 inches of rain.


Minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas may occur, the NWS said.

Areas that will experience flooding include Ramona, Alpine, Julian, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Mount Laguna, Escondido, Highway 78 between Ramona and Santa Ysabel, San Diego Country Estates and Highway 79 between Julian and Lake Cuyamaca, the NWS said.


For the majority of the day, winds will be 35 to 45 mph for the coast and inland valleys, but some isolated gusts could be up to 60 mph. For the foothills and mountains, some isolated winds could be over 70 mph.

“Expect very gusty conditions,” Parveen warned. A high wind warning has been issued for Friday evening with gusts of 60 mph possible, especially in the mountains.

At Cuyamaca Peak in East County, a wind gust was recorded at 109 mph on Friday, according to the NWS.

In addition to the inclement conditions, a Flex Alert was issued for Friday amid the continued sweltering heat -- the 10th consecutive day the region was stamped with the alert. Residents are asked to voluntarily conserve power from 4 to 9 p.m.

Surf and Beaches:

San Diegans have been advised to avoid water contact at all coastal beaches and bays due to recent rainfall, which brings urban runoff and can increase bacteria levels in the water, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality said.

The Tijuana Slough shoreline remains closed -- including all beaches from the International Border to the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach -- due to sewage-contaminated water from the Tijuana River.

All water contact should be avoided during rain and for 72 hours after a rain event.

Expect an elevated surf of 3 to 6 feet along with strong rip currents and longshore currents. In northern Orange County, waves could reach 8 feet. Isolated thunderstorms could produce lightning strikes as well, the NWS added.

Tropical Storm Kay in the South Bay:

The rain was "something good," one man told NBC 7's Melissa Adan on Friday. "We just have to drive careful."

The rain, wind and even humidity was welcomed among residents of Imperial Beach and generally across the South Bay, said NBC 7 reporter Melissa Adan.

"The rain is something good, we just have to drive careful," said Luis Cedeño.

"It's excellent actually because there's a lot of dry plants and you know how it goes with the fires here in San Diego. And you really don't want fires anymore, you want it to be more green, right? We really need it. I really receive it as something good," Cedeño added.

Tropical Storm Kay in East County:

Residents in the eastern portion of San Diego have faced more than their fair share of heat during the past two weeks, reports NBC 7's Jackie Crea.

Over in East San Diego County, downed trash cans and even downed powerlines could be seen amid the storm, said NBC 7 reporter Jackie Crea.

Folks were generally appreciative of the change in weather as the region comes out of a long and dry heat wave.

For East County students and athletes, the storm was a delight.

"It's great. We are having a day off from school because of it. We go to the Mountain Empire District and high winds prevent the buses from driving," said resident Lori Deminik.

Tropical Storm Kay in the San Diego County Mountains:

San Diego County’s mountains experienced the strongest winds produced by Tropical Storm Kay. NBC 7's Dana Griffin has the details.

Tree debris littered the highway from gusty, high winds in San Diego County's mountain communities, reported NBC 7's Dana Griffin.

A large tree branch was down near the Julian Post Office, however, Caltrans had not issued any major roadblocks or closures from the downed trees.

Thick fog had drivers riding their brakes. Sometimes, you could barely see the car right in front of you.

At this time of year, Julian's Main Street is usually crowded with tourists. But in this weather, only a handful of people were outside. Several shops were even closed due to concerns from the tropical storm.

The NWS reported 40 to 50 mph winds with gusts of up to 100 mph in the area.

Local shop owner Lori Sorbo had this warning for drivers: "Just don't speed, don't pass cars, don't come up if you're an anxious driver. It's not the type of weather to drive in that way. You just have to have a lot of patience and two hands on the wheel at all times."

Traffic, at some point, became backed on I-15 south near Balboa Avenue after a semi-truck overturned. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford is live from the scene.

Tropical Storm Kay triggered the following alerts from NWS:

  • Flood watch for mountains and deserts for Friday and Saturday
  • High wind warning for the coast and inland valleys for Friday
  • Beach hazard for the coast for Friday through Sunday
  • Flood advisory for parts of the county until 3:43 p.m. Friday
  • Flash flood warning for parts of East County until 4 p.m. Friday

The storm will continue to deliver the chance of rain on Saturday.

San Diego Storm Preparations

Free sandbags are being provided by the county and Cal Fire to residents in unincorporated areas to combat flooding and erosion. Residents are asked to bring their own shovels to get bags and/or sand.

Locals can find details on locations to retrieve the free sand by clicking here and also here.

Closures and Cancellations Around San Diego County

  • Because of the anticipated high winds, the Mountain Empire Unified School District announced it will be closed on Friday since the weather would make travel to and from schools challenging.
  • The San Diego County Office of Education announced the closure of the Spencer Valley School District at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Additionally, no after-school activities will be held in the district on Friday.
  • Julian Union High School and Julian Union Elementary School districts have also just announced they will follow their minimum day schedules.
  • Additionally, the San Diego Festival of the Arts announced it would cancel this year's festival, which was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
  • The San Ysidro Grocery Outlet Event and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pacific Beach Middle School were postponed in wake of the storm.
  • Singer Alicia Keys' concert scheduled for Friday at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre was canceled due to the weather.
A tropical storm is taking aim for San Diego County, bringing gusty winds and buckets of rain with it. NBC 7’s Nicole Gomez shares what you can do to prepare for the weather event.
Much-needed rain has arrived in San Diego County, coupled with gusts, too. NBC 7’s Nicole Gomez speaks to locals and tourists on the refreshing change of weather.
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