Powerful Winter Storm Brings Rain, Flooding

In just three hours more than an inch of rain fell at Lindbergh Field

Diana Guevara

San Diego County received the brunt of a powerful winter storm Thursday bringing large amounts of rain and cold temperatures.

More than an inch of rain fell at Lindbergh Field in just three hours Thursday morning. The 1.38" that fell so far today broke the previous record for this day of .47".

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The quick onset of heavy rain caused street flooding, prompted dozens of road closures and left thousands of morning commuters stranded in highway gridlock for hours. At one point, the commute from the South Bay into downtown was estimated to take three times the average commute time.

The San Diego swift water rescue team members were at a level 3 and actively patrolling the county for rescues.

One man, believed to be an undocumented immigrant, was stranded in the Tijuana River near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rescue crews suited up around 11 a.m. to pull the man to safety. U.S. Border Patrol agents also arrived.

Earlier this morning, lifeguards rescued a man trapped in his car along Ingraham just south of SeaWorld San Diego.

Anthony Jimenez was on his way to work and didn’t see a big puddle until his car stopped suddenly.

“My car was kind of going out of control and I didn’t want to take the freeway no more so I took the side streets and ran into a big old puddle,”said Anthony Jimenez.

He tried to start his vehicle but couldn’t.

The rescue team arrived, pulled him out of his vehicle and carried him to higher ground.

The team was also dispatched to Laning Road and Rosecrans where several vehicles were stuck in large amounts of water according to officials.

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Just before 8 a.m., the CHP announced two highway ramp closures due to flooding. The I-5 northbound onramp at 28th Street and the off-ramp at SR 163 and Washington were both closed. Before 9 a.m., officers reported more flooding on northbound I-5 at the Balboa off-ramp.

There were two incidents reported along the westbound State Route 94 transition to southbound Interstate 805 just before 7 a.m. One vehicle rolled over on its side up the embankment. Two other vehicles were reported to be stuck in a flooded section of roadway.

Other flooding was reported along Sports Arena and West Mission Bay Drive, Carroll Street in the Carmel Valley area and northbound Interstate 5 and Garmet where one vehicle was stuck in water. 

Several MTS bus lines were re-routed due to flooding.Click here to see the changes.

The California Highway Patrol reported dozens of accidents on area highways. Among them was a rollover accident along northbound Interstate 5 and State Route 52 where a motorcycle went off the highways.  Also, a big rig jackknifed northbound Interstate 805 at northbound 47th Street around 5:45 a.m.

Mudslides were affecting the eastbound SR-52 near Regents Boulevard. The mud was covering all lanes of traffic by 5 a.m.

San Diego Gas and Electric reported a power outage at 6:30 a.m. affecting more than 2,000 customers in the Lemon Grove area of San Diego.

In Mission Valley, the San Diego River was about 4 feet from cresting at 7:30 a.m. All swift water rescue units are actively patrolling any hot spot areas known to flood and all rescue units are in emergency vehicles and in the field.

“It’s going to be wet, windy, cold. Trust me,” said NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh.

There will be a chance of showers throughout the day and into the night Kodesh said.

Through Friday morning, the storm could bring .25” to .5” of rain along the coast and anywhere from one to two inches of rain in the mountains.

Because it’s unstable, cold air from the north, there is a chance for a thunderstorm that may produce hail.

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A winter weather advisory is in effect until 4 a.m. Friday according to the National Weather Service. Two to six inches of snow is predicted above the 5,000-foot level.

Because of the wind, there could be blowing snow Kodesh said.

Making the storm effects even more severe is a King Tide astronomical event.

The event is expected through December 14 according to the National Weather Service.

King tides come between two and four times a year when the gravitational forces of the sun, the Earth and a full moon are all in alignment.

The areas most affected will be San Diego Bay, Oceanside Beach, San Elijo Lagoon, Del Mar Dog Beach/San Dieguito Lagoon Entrance, Torrey Pines (where Penasquitos enters the ocean), La Jolla Shores, Mission Beach, and Imperial Beach/Tijuana Estuary.

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