Strong winter storm brings heavy rain, high winds to San Diego County

SAN DIEGO (KGTV/CNS) - A strong winter storm hit the San Diego region early Tuesday morning, bringing heavy rain and causing some flooding during the morning commute.

10News Meteorologist Megan Parry's forecast called for two rounds of widespread rain that will soak the county on Tuesday -- the first of which caused numerous issues on local roadways this morning.

Rain is believed to be a factor several crashes, including a wreck involving a big rig that occurred just before 4 a.m. on northbound Interstate 15 near Interstate 8. The crash left multiple lanes closed, but no injuries were immediately reported.

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The rain came down through 10 a.m. and briefly let up, but rainfall was expected to resume during the afternoon commute between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Drivers were warned of low visibility from the heavy rain, ponding on the roadways and gusty winds that could create hazardous driving conditions.

California Highway Patrol officials said they were bracing for hundreds of crashes during the morning commute alone, but as of late Tuesday evening, 410 crashes had occurred. 

Megan's forecast also called for a slight chance for thunderstorms with the ability to produce heavy rain and small hail.

Meanwhile, an Airport Weather Warning was issued for San Diego airports due to strong winds. The warning lasted until 9 a.m., but travelers were still urged to check with airlines for any possible flight delays.

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Citing the inclement weather, SeaWorld San Diego officials said the park would be closed Tuesday but would reopen Wednesday.

Strong winds are in the forecast through Tuesday, with potential gusts on from 55 to 75 mph along desert slopes and below mountain passes, according to the weather service. The gusts could adversely impact travelers in San Diego County along Interstates 8 and 15, as well as Old Highway 395, authorities said.

A winter-storm watch and high-wind watch will be in effect in mountain areas through late Tuesday night.

Snow levels were expected to remain above 8,000 feet throughout much of Southern California tonight -- higher than the San Diego area's highest peaks -- but likely will drop rapidly to 5,000 feet by Tuesday afternoon, making influxes of frozen white flakes possible in some local mountain spots, meteorologists predicted.

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Urban areas of San Diego County were expected to be spared the worst of the storm, while flash-flood warnings were issued for Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.


Despite the rainfall, San Diego only has about a 20 percent chance of receiving its average annual rainfall.

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