A flash flood warning was in effect Thursday for desert communities in San Diego while the rest of the county faced a flash flood watch and advisory as moderate rain drenched the region.
The National Weather Service said isolated thunderstorms will produce heavy rain across deserts in the county, including Borrego Springs. Rainfall rates of up to half an inch per hour are anticipated in the affected communities. The warning is expected to last through 3 p.m. Thursday.
What was anticipated as light, scattered showers turned to moderate rain as the day progressed. It is expected to last through the end of the week and deliver more precipitation before another storm strikes next week.
“It’s a very unsettled weather pattern,” NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said Wednesday.
NWS said a flood advisory will be in effect in eastern San Diego County until 4 p.m. Thursday. Isolated thunderstorms will ensue in areas hit by heavy rain and threaten areas with poor draining and desert mountain slopes.
NWS also said the flash food watch will be in effect through the evening. It urges drivers to turn around when they encounter flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles, the agency said.
The disturbance that prompted Thursday's rain is from the same storm system that caused Tuesday's gloomy weather.
On Friday, that same storm system increases a chance of light rain once more.
“We’re not going to be completely dry any one day going forward here; each day we’ll see more on the way – cloud cover, and that chance on Sunday,” Parveen added.
By the weekend, it’ll be much quieter in terms of rain,
Parveen said, but there is a chance of showers again Sunday as a cold front
approaches the region.
And the wet weather won’t end there.
Parveen said there’s a new storm system from the north moving into the county on Monday that is expected to stick around through next Wednesday, March 18. That storm system will also bring cooler weather and maybe even a chance of snow in San Diego’s mountains.
The rain should dry out by next Thursday, March 19, according to NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast.
NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said the last significant rain – more than a shower or scattered sprinkles – was at the end of December 2019, just after Christmas.
The National Weather Service had rounded up some rain totals just after 8 p.m. Tuesday that showed the Palomar Observatory – which is at 5,560 feet in elevation – had gotten 2.05 inches of rain. Coastal communities like Oceanside saw 1.25 inches of rain, while La Jolla got 0.87 inches and Del Mar got 0.84 inches.
San Diego valleys like Escondido received 1.11 inches of rain from Tuesday’s storm, while Alpine saw 0.69 inches, Poway logged 0.59 inches, and La Mesa got 0.55 inches.
The wet weather caused some slick roads and accidents on Tuesday.
Over in El Cajon, a couple crashed their SUV into an embankment and canal off I-8. The canal was swollen by the rain and swept away the vehicle, with the man and woman still inside. The SUV came to a stop about a half-mile downstream; the woman got out and was swept away by the rushing water.
Thirteen minutes later, the woman was rescued by first responders at Forrester Creek in Santee, nearly five miles away from where the couple had originally crashed. She was taken to a local hospital where she soon died.