Mostly Sunny Skies Expected

Weather Improves After Week Of Rain Storms

For the first time in a week, San Diego County is expected to see mostly sunny skies Thursday.

  • Video:Repairs Continue On Sinkhole In Santee
  • Video:High Water Prompts Dozens Of Rescues
  • Video:Storm Causes Havoc On North County Roadways
  • Video:Mission Valley Has History Of Flooding
  • Video:Poway Residents Deal With Flooding
  • Video:SKY10 Shows Widespread Flooding
  • Video:Storm Causes Flooding Across County
  • Video:Rain Creates Dangerous Roadways In North County
  • Video:Storm Forces Rising Waters, Rescues In South Bay
  • Video:Rain Pounds Soaked Coastal Areas
  • The unusually wet storm pattern that dropped several inches of rain around the county since last Friday -- causing an onslaught of flooding, power outages and traffic accidents -- moved out of the region overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

    Preliminary seven-day rainfall totals as of late Wednesday afternoon were: 6.74 inches at the Oceanside Airport; 6.79 in Vista; 5.84 in Encinitas; 5.42 at the Montgomery Field; 4.32 at San Diego Lindbergh Field; 4.59 in National City; 8.74 in Fallbrook; 8.3 in Escondido; 6.45 in Poway; 10.04 on Mount Woodson; 7.99 at the Ramona Airport; 6.61 in Santee; 6.27 in Alpine; 18.23 on Palomar Mountain; and 10.9 in Santa Ysabel.

    Thursday's NWS forecast calls for partly cloudy skies in the morning, followed by mostly sunny skies with light winds. Also, light winds were expected.

    The mercury Thursday is expected to top out in the low 60s along the coast and western valleys, high 50s near the foothills, mid-50s in the mountains and mid-to-high 60s in the deserts.

    Steady overnight and morning drenching Wednesday caused the San Diego River to overflow and the Tijuana River to likewise swell past its banks in the far southern reaches of the county.

    By midday Wednesday, Qualcomm Stadium's playing field and much of its huge parking lot were submerged in muddy flows. Several miles away, about 50 people were trapped by waters that deluged the Premier Inn on Hotel Circle Place, just south of Interstate 8.

    At 9 a.m. Wednesday, the San Diego River was more than two feet above flood level, according to the National Weather Service.

    Lifeguards used inflatable rescue vessels to evacuate the stranded vacationers and employees, some of whom reported non-life-threatening health problems, including trouble breathing and issues with diabetes and heart disease. Several pregnant women also were among those trapped at the drenched lodge.

    The boats were attached to a nylon tether that emergency personnel pulled back and forth across the swollen river, whose flows were so powerful they washed a few commercial garbage bins away, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

    Medics transported two of the evacuees to a hospital to be checked out.

    Other structures swamped by floodwaters in Mission Valley Wednesday included the Handlery Hotel, Town and Country Resort Hotel and a number of condominiums, according to police.

    City public safety personnel also came to the rescue of people trapped by rising waters in Sorrento Valley, San Diego lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum said.

    Heavy rains in the North County formed a small lake behind the Helen Woodward Animal center in Rancho Santa Fe Wednesday.

    "We've kept the animals safe and dry; the ones in kennels, smaller animals, puppies... those are now inside," said Trisha Lord St. George, who works at the center.

    A huge irregularly-shaped sinkhole formed on a private driveway on the outskirts of Fallbrook. Homeowner Sarah Schaeffer said it began to crumble at about 2 a.m.

    Schaeffer said about four hours later, another storm front passed through and the sinkhole grew larger.

    "It took out 15 fence posts," she said. "They were dropping by the minute, like Niagara Falls."

    In rural areas around the Tijuana River, which also breached its banks Wednesday morning, ranchers and other livestock owners had been urged earlier in the week to move their animals and families to higher ground. Despite the flooding in those areas just north of the Mexican border, no serious problems were reported.

    Some Poway residents woke up to flooded homes on Wednesday.

    Homeowner Leonardo Ruiz said his home was completely flooded and everything that wasn't up off the ground was ruined.

    "We do have flood insurance," said Ruiz. "I hope that insurance will pay for everything we lost because we couldn't save nothing."

    Ruiz's neighbor, Doug Stampfli, said he was able to protect his house with cinderblocks and sandbags.

    "We did what we could, fortified our space... and friends helped us," he said.

    Stampfli said nearby Rattlesnake Creek the problem because the city of Poway never widened the section of creek that runs by his house.

    "The water hits that narrow channel and it boils, then it drops the silt and it backs it up all the way back to the city of Poway’s train bridge," said Stampfli. "The city just needs to either change the course of the creek or clean it out. There's cattails over there and everything else."

    For now, Stampfli said he is just grateful his sandbags and cinderblocks are holding.

    "Barely… yeah, just barely, but they are working," he said.

    The squalls have dumped upwards of 6 1/2 inches of moisture along the coast, more than 8 inches in some inland valley communities and in excess of 13 inches in certain mountain locales, according to the weather service.

    The relentless showers harried motorists for yet another day, along with commuters who rely on mass transit.

    Coaster and Amtrak train service between Oceanside and San Diego were canceled for the day due to flooding in Sorrento Valley and storm debris in Encinitas. Crews will have to wait for the water to recede so they can inspect the tracks for safety, according to Alex Wiggins, a spokesman for North County Transit District.

    The downpours also disrupted San Diego Trolley service Wednesday. Tracks used by its Green Line runs were under several inches of water at Interstate 15 in the early afternoon, forcing the Metropolitan Transit System to use buses to ferry the affected commuters between the Grantville and Qualcomm Stadium stations.

    Rails shared by the Green and Orange lines, meanwhile, were blocked by mud slides near the El Cajon Transit Center. Riders were being bused east to Santee, MTS spokeswoman Judy Leitner said.

    The storm also resulted in partial or full closures of dozens of roadways. Among the affected routes Wednesday were: -- Friars Road between Ulric Street and Fashion Valley Road, due to flooding; -- Sixth Avenue offramp from southbound State Route 163, Hillcrest, rocks in the lanes; -- Pacific Beach Drive at Dawes Street, flooding; -- Mission Center Road between Camino de la Reina and Hazard Center Drive, flooding; -- Qualcomm Way at Camino de la Reina, flooding; -- 10700 block of San Diego Mission Road, flooding; -- 3900 block of Camino del Rio North, flooding; -- northbound Interstate 5 at Gilman Drive, University City, tree blocking two lanes; -- State Route 76 at Valley Center Road, rocks in roadway; -- Valley Center Road at Thundernut Lane, boulders in roadway; -- Stage Coach Lane at Brooke Road, 6 to 12 inches of water and boulders in roadway; -- State Route 79 at Rainbow Road, mud slide; -- Old Castle Road just east of Champagne Boulevard and at Pamoosa Lane, mud and rock slide; -- Camino Del Rey just west of Via Maria Elena, flooding; -- Lake Wohlford Road at Oakvale Road, flooding; -- Lake Wohlford Road at Valley Center Road, flooding; -- Carmel Mountain Road onramp to northbound Interstate 5, flooding; -- Central Avenue between Sweetwater and Bonita roads, flooding; -- Interstate 5 HOV lanes, flooding hazards; -- Northbound Twin Oaks Valley at Solar Lane, flooding; -- Wildcat Canyon Road at Willow and San Vicente, flooding; -- North River Road, just west of state Route 76, flooding; -- eastbound state Route 78 at El Camino Real, flooding. -- westbound state Route 76 at Interstate 15, flooding; -- eastbound state Route 76 at Gird Road, flooding; -- westbound state Route 78 between Interstate 5 and El Camino Real; -- northbound Interstate 5 on Sorrento Valley offramp, flooding; and -- State Route 76 just west of Mission Road, flooding.

    The county Office of Emergency Services advised San Diego-area residents to keep abreast of the progress of the storm by: -- monitoring local television and radio stations for flood warnings; -- getting the latest forecast details from the National Weather Service at www.nws.gov/sandiego . -- knowing how to shut off electricity at the home fuse panel and gas at the meter; -- avoiding downed power lines, broken glass and flooded roads; and -- getting information about road closures at http://sdcdpw.org/emergency .

    For those who need to protect their homes or businesses from possible floodwaters, free sandbags are available at the following facilities: -- Cal Fire Station 73, 28205 N. Lake Wohlford Road, Valley Center; -- Cal Fire Station 7, 16971 State Route 76, Valley Center; -- Cal Fire Station 50, 1587 State Route 78, Julian; -- Cal Fire Mount Woodson Station, 16310 State Route 67, Ramona; -- North County Fire Protection District Station 4, 4375 Pala Mesa Drive, Fallbrook; -- Cal Fire Station 30, 17304 Highway 94, Dulzura; and -- Kit Carson Park Amphitheater, 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido.