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Risk of Flash Flooding Remains Around S.D. County

Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms were expected in San Diego County today, increasing the risk of flash flooding in coastal, valley and mountain areas, forecasters said.

Firefighters pass fast-moving muddy water during the fourth storm of the week on January 21, 2010 in La Canada Flintridge, California.
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Above: Firefighters pass fast-moving muddy water during the fourth storm of the week on January 21, 2010 in La Canada Flintridge, California.

National Weather Service forecasters estimated that up to an inch of rain is possible today at the coast, 1.5 to 2 inches in the foothills and 2 to 3 inches on coastal mountain slopes.

Although the main front of this week's fourth storm has left the region, a flash flood watch for coastal, valley and mountain areas below 4,500 feet was in effect through this afternoon. The mountains were also under a winter storm warning scheduled to expire at 6 p.m.

Sunny skies are expected this weekend, followed by warmer temperatures and overall fair weather on Monday, said NWS meteorologist Stefanie Sullivan

Forecasters said the rain may return Tuesday and Wednesday, although the rainfall will be considerably lighter than was the case this week.

The surf will remain high along beaches through Sunday night, particularly today into Saturday, when breakers over 20 feet are possible on the outside reefs, according to the NWS.

A coastal flood watch remains in effect until 4 a.m. Saturday and a high surf advisory is in effect until 2 a.m. Monday.

Relentless downpours and powerful winds pounded San Diego County this week, flooding dozens of roads, toppling trees, shutting down schools, delaying trains, canceling airline flights and causing the first weather-related closure at SeaWorld in 12 years.

At the same time, more than 100,000 residences and businesses in the county lost power for a time, according to San Diego Gas & Electric.

Over a 5-day period ending at 9 p.m. Thursday, the storms dropped 3.86 inches of rain at Oceanside Airport, 2.94 in Vista, 4.37 in Cardiff, 4.19 at MCAS Miramar, 4.33 at Montgomery Field, 2.96 at Lindbergh Field, 2.88 at Brown Field, 4.46 in Fallbrook, 5.25 in Valley Center, 4.22 in Escondido, 5.45 in Rancho Bernardo, 3.32 in La Mesa, 4.5 in Alpine, 6.62 in Julian, 8.83 at Palomar Mountain, and 3.14 in Borrego Springs.

Between midnight and 9 p.m. Thursday, there were 185 crashes on the county's highways and freeways, according to the California Highway Patrol. Similar figures were reported on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The agency typically receives 50-75 crash reports in a 24-hour period.

Firefighters trained in swift-water rescue came the aide of several motorists who attempted to drive through flooded areas during the storms and became stuck.

On Thursday, Cal Fire firefighters rescued two dogs trapped in a pickup truck stuck in a flooded creek in Valley Center. The swift-water rescue in the 12600 block of Betsworth Road occurred around 3:40 p.m. Thursday, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said.

A motorist tried unsuccessfully to drive the truck across the flooded creek, Schuler said, adding that the vehicle was swept sideways down stream.The driver and a child passenger were able to escape on their own, but the dogs were left behind, according to the battalion chief.

A day earlier, Cal Fire firefighters pulled two people from a vehicle

stuck in the same flooded creek area.

Other swift-water operations conducted in the county this week included the rescue of three men who tried to cross the swollen Tijuana River inland from Imperial Beach, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities said seven other people were spotted in the area but were unaccounted for.

This week's storms contributed to at least one death in the county. On Tuesday, Flinn Springs resident Linda Flick, 58, was crushed to death when a tree roughly 10 feet in diameter buckled under strong wind gusts and fell onto her mobile home.

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