The Ocean Beach Pier was shut down on Wednesday due to high surf, hours before a storm was set to arrive in San Diego, bringing a major shift to the weather.
The storm was expected to make landfall in North County San Diego Wednesday evening, bringing some light rain before the brunt of the storm reaches the county on Thursday morning, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.
By 11 p.m. Wednesday only a few spot showers were showing on NBC 7's weather radar. NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said she expected showers to remain light through the night, and said moderate to heavy rains could make landfall as early as 6 a.m. Thursday.
The NBC 7 First Alert Weather forecast calls for the potential for an inch of rain across much of the area by the end of Thursday, Parveen said.
Forecasters say there's a risk of heavy rainfall in virtually all of the coastal ranges and some interior sections of the state through Wednesday.
By late Thursday morning, storm clouds would start to dump heavy rain on the parts of the county, Parveen projected.
The storm could cause flash flooding in areas scarred by recent wildfires, including last December's Lilac Fire in Fallbrook and this summer's West Fire in Alpine, the NWS said.
San Diego County has designated free sandbag stations for residents who need to protect their property from flooding. Free bags and sand will be provided at more than two dozen locations but residents must bring their own shovels. Several bag-only locations will also be available.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for areas where wildfires have left scorched land in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties.
A high surf advisory is in effect for all of San Diego County's beaches through 10 p.m. Friday. The advisory warns of sneaker waves, sets measuring 6 to 10 feet and minor coastal flooding during the morning high tide.
Midcap said wind gusts could reach 20 to 30 mph throughout the county, and could reach as high as 70 mph in the mountains and deserts.
San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards shut down the Ocean Beach Pier Wednesday morning due to the high surf.
"It may re-open this afternoon when the surf settles down," the agency said in a tweet.
There's also the possibility of snow in the mountains across Southern California with more than six inches of snow forecasted for areas above 7,000 feet.
Snow accumulations in the Sierra could range from 2-4 feet.
During the storm, winds will average 15 to 25 miles per hour in the mountains and some gusts could reach 35 mph. The NWS has issued a wind advisory for 24 hours starting at 6 a.m. Thursday.
The City of San Diego was busy Wednesday clearing out storm drains ahead of the rain. At Kenwood Drive and Barbic Court in Spring Valley, road crew supervisor Tony Ariosta was hard at work clearing an outlet where debris tends to build up.
“We want to collect the debris so that it doesn’t plug stuff up further down the system,” Ariosta explained. “It’s very important to the big picture: it reduces flooding and reduces impact to the environment as well.”
Ariosta said the city plans to have public works employees work 12-hour shifts throughout the storm to make sure the storm channels are manned all day.
“There will be 24-hour coverage throughout the county through any events that could come up so that we can keep the streets and the thoroughfares safe for the traveling public,” he added.
Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol reminded drivers Wednesday that, since there hasn’t been significant rainfall in San Diego in several months, the highways will be slick once the storm rolls in.
CHP said the most important thing for drivers to remember during a storm is to slow down. Drivers should also leave early to allow plenty of time to reach their destination, check their windshield wipers and tire tread before taking off for the day, and remember to use their headlights if their windshield wipers are in use.