San Diego will begin to dry out Friday after a strong winter storm system dumped more than a foot of snow on the region's mountain ranges but chilly conditions would remain.
Though a National Weather Service winter storm warning has expired, extremely cold overnight temperatures prompted the National Weather Service to issue a freeze warning that expired at 9 a.m. Friday.
The alert warned of icy roads and freezing temperatures that could harm pets, cause hypothermia and kill sensitive vegetation.
NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said once the warning expires, the sun will return. San Diego can expect to see dry conditions with sunshine through the weekend, though temperatures will remain chilly.
The storm system dumped more than 20 inches of snow on Mount Laguna, with an elevation of 5,900 feet, by 10 p.m. Thursday. Julian received more than 14 inches of snow during the storm's two days in San Diego. Palomar Mountain received more than 14 inches and Pine Valley Received more than 6 inches.
Snowfall totals were expected to be even higher, once Friday's overnight snow is accounted for. Snow was expected to be recorded at elevations as low as 2,000 feet.
The storm created hazardous conditions on roadways to and from the mountains.
Several spinouts were reported on an icy Interstate 8 before California Highway Patrol officials shut down the road for nearly 12 hours. The highway was reopened just before 9:30 a.m.
Caltrans closed State Route 79 between I-8 and the SR-79/SR-78 junction in Julian Thursday night due to snowy roadways. The gates were closed along SR-79 at Sunrise Highway. "ROAD CLOSED" signs had been placed in front of the gates.
By noon Friday, Sunrise Highway and SR-78 were open to traffic but chains were required for all vehicles while SR-79 remained closed.
Schools would also be closed for another day. The San Diego County Office of Education said, due to inclement weather, the following mountain school districts would not have classes Friday:
- Julian Union High School District
- Julian Union School District
- Mountain Empire Unified School District
- Spencer Valley School District
- Warner Springs School District
"It just isn’t really where you want to be right now," Sanchez said. "The best thing to do is avoid the area for the next day or two and then once things thaw out come on up and see what’s happening."
Elsewhere, up to nearly two inches of rain was recorded. The NWS rainfall totals as of 10 p.m. Thursday were:
Descanso: 1.88 inches
Pine Valley: 1.66 inches
Alpine: 1.46 inches
Poway: 1.11 inches
El Cajon: 1.07 inches
Ramona: 1.01 inches
Santee: .71 inches
San Ysidro: .78 inches
Kearny Mesa: .6 inches
Fallbrook: .45 inches
Escondido: .45 inches
Chula Vista: .43 inches
Borrego Springs: .3 inches
Oceanside: .27 inches
Carlsbad: .13 inches