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Strong storm and heavy rain leads to flooding, road closures across San Diego County

Posted at 1:51 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 16:52:45-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A powerful storm battered the San Diego region Thursday, soaking the county with heavy rain that led to flood-related road closures in some areas and impacted school schedules.

Just before 1 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for San Diego County, advising residents to prepare for potentially dangerous flooding in “low-lying, poor drainage and urbanized areas with a major risk for mudslides and rockslides.” The warning was expected to last until 3:45 p.m.

Moderate flooding of the San Diego River was expected from late Thursday morning until early Friday morning in the area of Fashion Valley and Mission Valley malls, as well as along the Santa Margarita River near Camp Pendleton.

The NWS also issued a wind advisory that is set to expire at 4 a.m. on Saturday. South-to-southwest winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts reaching 55 mph, are expected to continue through Thursday evening.

As the rains intensified, the San Diego County Office of Education announced that Vallecitos Elementary School in the Rainbow area would be closed for the day. Several other schools were being dismissed early because of the inclement weather conditions.

The storm created issues for those trying to access the Camp Pendleton Marine base. According to base officials, several gates to the base and streets on the base were shut down due to flooding.

Base officials are providing updates to closures and other weather-related issues on this link.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported numerous power outages throughout the county attributed to the stormy conditions. Officials with the utility are urging the public to view the outage map for any updates.

The rainfall prompted the county’s Department of Environmental Health to extend its closure of beaches and shorelines in the South Bay. The closures at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park include Imperial Beach, Silver Strand and the Coronado shoreline.

Beachgoers were warned that recent rainfall has caused sewage-contaminated runoff from the Tijuana River to contaminate local beaches. Officials say the closure will remain in effect until the water meets state health standards.

The storm is expected to taper off by early Thursday evening, but there will be chances of scattered, milder showers from Friday evening through Monday afternoon, the NWS said.


Rainfall totals

Two-day precipitation totals as of 9 a.m. included 6.64 inches in the Palomar area; 6.12 inches at Birch Hill; 4.02 in Fallbrook; 3.22 in Julian; 2.85 in Valley Center; 2.66 in Pine Valley; 2.62 in Oceanside; 2.59 in Santa Ysabel; 2.45 at Mount Laguna; 1.90 in Ramona; 1.65 in Carlsbad; 1.61 in Escondido; 1.42 in Santee; 1.37 in Encinitas; 1.20 in Poway; 1.08 in La Mesa; 1.03 in Solana Beach; 0.91 at Montgomery Field; 0.86 near Fashion Valley; 0.67 at the Tijuana Estuary and Brown Field; 0.61 at Lindbergh Field; and 0.59 in San Ysidro, according to the weather service.

The highest moisture total for the deserts were San Felipe with 1.65 inches, 1.16 near Coyote Creek, 1.18 in Borrego Palm Canyon and 0.66 in Borrego Springs.

Coastal and inland-valley areas are expected to get anywhere between 1.5 to 2.3 inches of rainfall today while the mountains are forecast to receive between 5.5 and 7 inches of rainfall; between 1 and 3 inches is expected in the county deserts, NWS forecasters said.

Snow levels will remain above 8,000 feet during the day, then drop to around 6,000 feet on Thursday night, according to the NWS.

City News Service contributed to this report