A cold Pacific storm drenched San Diego County early Thursday, causing flooding along the coast and wreaking havoc in the morning commute.
The National Weather Service reported rain fell a rate of near three-tenths of an inch per hour in southwestern San Diego County. Between 6 and 8 a.m., more than an inch of rainfall accumulated in some parts, including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Pacific Beach and San Ysidro.
Rainfall totals from the storm were expected to be between a half-inch and a quarter-inch in coastal and valley areas, and up to 2 inches in the mountains. A quarter-inch or less was expected in the deserts.
“Most of the snow will occur late (Wednesday) through Thursday evening, as the cold front moves through the area,” according to a weather service advisory.
The agency said snow levels were initially around 6,500 to 7,000 feet Wednesday evening and would gradually fall to between 4,000 and 4,500 feet late Thursday. Total snowfall from the storm was expected to be around 2 to 6 inches.
Sustained west-to-southwest winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 30 mph, also were expected in the mountains early Thursday.
Standing water prompted several temporary street closures in parts of San Diego city prone to flooding, including areas of the Midway District and Point Loma, according to San Diego police.
The California Highway Patrol reported it was receiving dozens of accident reports per hour, though most were noninjury fender-benders and spinouts. An exact tally was not immediately available.
Due to snow and gusty winds, the Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the mountains—including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna— effective to 4 a.m. Friday.
The Weather Service said there was a slight chance Thursday of thunderstorms capable of producing brief periods of heavy rain and small hail, as well as water spouts over coastal waters.
“Travelers through the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions,” including slippery roads and low visibility because of blowing snow, according to an advisory. “Motorists are urged to check the latest road reports before departing. Always carry chains and take extra food and clothing if you must travel into the mountains.”
Some lingering light snow showers could continue into late Friday morning, and a potential exists for additional light snow Friday night and Sunday due to some disturbances that may move through the area, according to the weather service.
—City News Service