Persistent Rain Pummels San Diego, Flash Flood Warning Activated

A winter storm watch, flash flood warning and high surf advisory were in effect Tuesday

A flash flood warning was issued in parts of north San Diego County Tuesday afternoon amid heavy rainfall from a series of winter storms.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the flash flood warning would remain in effect through 7:15 p.m. in some North County areas that are prone to flooding, including Temecula, Camp Pendleton, Fallbrook and Lake Elsinore. 

[G] Heavy Rains Prompt Flooding, Damage Across San Diego County

This warning came amid very wet weather across the county Tuesday as a series of storms crept in, with much heavier rain expected as the day unfolds.
“Now, yesterday’s [rain] was small, compared to what we’re expecting today,” explained NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh. “We’re going to be dealing with heavy rainfall – potential thunderstorms.”

Community leaders will meet Tuesday to discuss Tijuana River Valley emergency preparations and coordination among agencies in case this week’s El Nino storms create major flooding in the area. NBC 7’s Elena Gomez reports.

According to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday they responded to 75 water rescue calls, mostly cars in flooded intersections.

At one Clairemont intersection, such heavy flooding was reported that several cars were trapped in rising waters. San Diego Fire-Rescue crews headed out to Mt. Alifan Drive and Mt. Aguilar Drive to help drivers stuck in rising waters. 

Balboa Avenue between Mercury and Convoy was also heavily flooded, leaving many cars trapped in the high water.

Extreme flooding shut down Midway Drive from Rosecrans to Sports Arena Boulevard, SDFD said, as crews rescue people trapped in their cars. Police are asking people the avoid the area. 

By 4 p.m., California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials had reported 291 crashes along San Diego highways. On a "good weather" day, CHP officials said, they average 140 reported crashes.

If you are planning to drive in rainy situations, the CHP offers these tips:

  1. Reduce their speed when the road is wet.
  2. Increase their following distance to allow more time to stop.
  3. Avoid making sudden turning movements to prevent hydroplaning.
  4. If they are involved in a minor collision, and their vehicle is still operable, drive off the freeway to a safe location.
  5. Avoid distractions while driving, like cell phones, to prevent last second vehicle maneuvers.
  6. If the windshield wipers are on, then the headlights need to be on.

Heavy rain began to pummel San Diego at noon after a morning of light showers and continued on thrugh the night. 

“For everyone who was underwhelmed with yesterday’s light rain, today will be a very different story,” Kodesh added. “This will be the heaviest band of rain, in the series this week.”

[[364274781,C]] Looking ahead, the majority of the rain from this storm system will fall across San Diego County between Tuesday and Thursday, Kodesh said.

Meanwhile, the NWS also issued a winter storm watch Tuesday, effective through late Thursday night. The storm includes snowfall in the Pine Valley area, with the heaviest snow falling Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning and again Thursday afternoon through that night.

The NWS says the winter storm watch will also bring gusty winds – the strongest of which are expected to develop Wednesday morning through Thursday night. Fog will also be a factor in this storm. The NWS says a weaker storm may be possible for late Saturday into Sunday morning, too.
The NWS's flash flood warning began with a flood watch at 10 a.m. Tuesday that was expected to last through late Wednesday night for all San Diego County coastal areas and other parts of Southern California.

Heavy rain will bring a threat of flash flooding, the NWS says, which may include mudslides in some areas – including portions of land burned by fires.

Finally, the winter storm also brings a high surf advisory this week, in effect in San Diego through 10 p.m. Friday.

The NWS says waves and surf are expected to be between four and eight feet Tuesday, six to 10 feet Wednesday and eight to 12 feet with sets to 15 feet Thursday. The highest sets of waves will occur south of Carlsbad. The high surf should subside by Friday.

The NWS says high surf will mean possible beach erosion and very strong rip currents at local beaches, plus minor coastal flooding during high tide.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story, or follow NBC 7 San Diego on Twitter by clicking here. 

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