Cleanup underway after storm topples trees, power lines

SAN DIEGO - Gusty winds and light isolated showers lingered in parts of San Diego County's mountains and deserts Saturday as a late-spring storm shifted to the east.

IMAGES: Storm brings rain, snow to county

A National Weather Service high wind warning was in effect for the mountains and the deserts until 9 p.m., as is a less severe wind advisory for elsewhere in the county.

Gusts of 74 mph were recorded on Volcan Mountain shortly after 4 a.m., and a 68 mph gust was measured shortly after 3 a.m. at the Lucky Five Ranch, according to the weather service.

Winds of 25-35 mph with gusts of up to 55 mph remain possible through Saturday night in the mountains and deserts, and coastal and valley areas could see winds of 15-25 mpg with gusts of up to 35 mph, forecasters said. Sustained winds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can cause property damage.

Families throughout San Diego County cleaned up after the storm toppled trees and power lines. Lakeside resident Paul Allen woke up to the sounds of a huge pine tree crashing down in front of his home.

"I was lying in bed and I heard a noise that sounded like thunder and then a boom," said Allen.

The tree dragged down power lines and smashed through his wooden fence.

"I said, 'Oh great, now what?'" said Allen.

The storm knocked over other trees including one at a Bonita golf course and in Carlsbad. It also brought down a coral tree blocking in the front door to Don Wofford's home.

"So, I opened up the front door and wasn't going out that way. So, I went out the garage and the tree was clearly in their yard and my yard," said Wofford.

By noon, crews had already tackled the cleanup and chopped down the tree. There was steady rainfall Saturday afternoon after the storm hit.

The storm also brought 1.32 inches of rain to Julian as of about 11:15 a.m., nearly an inch to Palomar Mountain and slightly less in Santa Ysabel, .78 inches in Mt. Woodson, .69 inches in Escondido and .29 in Carlsbad.

Wet roads and wind were blamed for an early morning crash involving a big rig in Carlsbad. California Highway Patrol officers say the driver slid across all lanes of traffic and slammed into the center guardrail.

No one was hurt, but Mother Nature did cause some major inconveniences for some people like Allen.

"We're not going to have power for who knows how long, no phone either," he said.

Although forecasters said around 1 p.m. isolated showers continued to fall in parts of the county, dry and mostly cloudy conditions were reported west of the mountains. Drier and warmer conditions are expected Sunday.

Along the coast, a beach hazards statement for elevated surf and strong rip currents is scheduled through late Monday night. According to the NWS, the highest waves will occur on south- to southwest-facing beaches, with 3- to 6-foot waves and sets of up to 8 feet likely.

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