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Storm Brings Heavy Rain, Snow — And A Tornado Warning

Flooding near the Fashion Valley mall, Jan. 6, 2016.
Susan Murphy
Flooding near the Fashion Valley mall, Jan. 6, 2016.

Residents were advised to take shelter during a brief tornado warning

A man collects shopping carts in front of the H Mart in Mira Mesa as the rain falls, Jan. 6, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
A man collects shopping carts in front of the H Mart in Mira Mesa as the rain falls, Jan. 6, 2016.
Rain To Continue In San Diego County
Rain To Continue In San Diego County GUESTS:Lee Swanson, spokesman, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Eric Frost, director, Viz Center, San Diego State University Pat Abbott, professor emeritus, Geology, San Diego State University


72-hour rainfall totals

As of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday:

• Kearny Mesa, 2.91 inches.

• Fashion Valley, 2.31 inches.

• San Onofre, 2.69 inches.

• Lindbergh Field, 1.86 inches.

• Point Loma, 1.85 inches.

• Vista, 1.79 inches.

• Carlsbad, 1.82 inches.

• Oceanside, 2.55 inches.

• Mission Beach, 1.06 inches.

• Chula Vista, 1.03 of an inch.

• Encinitas, 1.59 of an inch.

• Del Mar, .84 of an inch.

• Poway, 3.36 inches.

• Ramona, 2.96 inches.

• Santee, 2.44 inches.

• Valley Center, 2.22 inches.

• La Mesa, 1.85 inches.

• Lakeside, 1.66 inches.

• Escondido, 2.55 inches.

• El Cajon, 1.39 inches.

• Alpine, 1.31 inches.

• Julian, 2.74 inches.

• Borrego Springs, 0.62 of an inch.

• Ocotillo Wells, 0.32 of an inch.

UPDATE: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 6, 2016

It wasn't just rain that hit the county on Wednesday. There was snow.

In the Mount Laguna area, snow showers were expected to continue through the night and into Thursday, the National Weather Service said. As much as 10 to 14 inches of snow was predicted. The low Wednesday night was expected to be around 29, with wind gusts up 70 mph. The high Thursday was forecast for 31, with wind gusts up to 45 mph.

Chains also were being required in the Mount Laguna area on Sunrise Highway from state Route 79 to Interstate 8, according to the San Diego County Department of Public Works.


Back on lower ground, county officials reported several road closures. Rock slides in Jamacha led to Willow Glen Drive being closed near Hillsdale Road. In Spring Valley, the Quarry Road Dip was closed between Lakeview Avenue and state Route 125.

And the San Diego River in the Fashion Valley area is continuing to rise, according to the National Weather Service.

At 5:15 p.m., it was at the 7.65-foot level and was forecast to rise to 11.5 feet by 9 p.m. Wednesday. That would be just over flood stage, the weather service said.

Forecasters predicted flooding in nearby parking lots and on roads.

On the weather service's Facebook page a simple warning was added to the post about the river: "Do not drive through flooded roads."

UPDATE: 5:25 p.m., Jan. 6, 2016

More than 1,000 San Diegans were without power Wednesday evening, according to San Diego Gas & Electric's online outage map. Parts of Vista, Sorrento Valley, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Mission Valley, Kearny Mesa, Tierrasanta, Nester, San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and Imperial Beach were affected.

Power was expected to come back on by 9:30 p.m. or earlier.

Lindbergh Field is no longer on alert for lightning and wind.

Farther east, the National Weather Service issued an arroyo and small stream flood advisory until 8 p.m. The agency said to expect flooding in Borrego Springs and Ocotillo Wells, and on Interstate 8 between Boulevard and the Imperial County line.

UPDATE: 4:25 p.m., Jan. 6, 2016

Lifeguards closed the pier in Ocean Beach during the 4 o'clock hour Wednesday due to severe weather conditions, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. It was not immediately clear if there is damage to the structure and it is not yet known when it will reopen.

Meanwhile, fire-rescue crews were helping people out of cars caught in flooding in La Jolla at La Jolla Village and Villa La Jolla drives, in Miramar at Miramar Road and Cabot Drive, and in the Torrey Preserve area on Roselle Road.

Fire-rescue has deployed nine three-person, swiftwater rescue teams throughout the city, according to the department's Twitter feed.

The National Weather Service extended its lightning warning for the airport to 5:30 p.m. And a severe thunderstorm warning for central San Diego was lifted, but heavy rains are expected to continue in the area.

UPDATE: 3:40 p.m., Jan. 6, 2016

Both tornado warnings were cancelled by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A severe thunderstorm warning followed for Santee, Ramona and Poway until 4:15 p.m. Chula Vista, El Cajon and San Diego were under a flash flood warning until 6:15 p.m.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Police Department said the following roads and intersections are closed: Alvarado Court at Alvarado Road in the College Area; West Maple Street at State Street in Midtown; La Media Road at Airway Road in Otay Mesa; Hollister Street at Monument Road in the Tijuana River Valley area; Aldine Drive at Fairmount Avenue in Talmadge; the 4100 block of 41st Street in Teralta West; Sorrento Valley Road at Carmel Mountain Road in Torrey Hills; Miramar Road between Camino Ruiz and Cabot Drive; Midway Drive between Barnett Avenue and West Point Loma Boulevard in Point Loma; and Roselle Road and Estuary Way in the Torrey Preserve area.

Several roads in Mission Valley are also closed: Avenida Del Rio; the 1500 block of Hotel Circle South; Camino De La Reina between Camino De la Siesta and Avenida Del Rio; and Fashion Valley Road between Hotel Circle North and Riverwalk Drive.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m., Jan. 6, 2016

The National Weather Service issued a brief tornado warning from 2:53 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. for Escondido, San Pasqual, Rancho Santa Fe, 4S Ranch, Highland Valley, Del Sur and Rancho Bernardo. Residents in those areas were advised to take cover immediately on the lowest floor of the building, preferably in an interior room and away from windows.

University City, La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Miramar, Sorrento Valley, Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley and Torrey Preserve were under a tornado warning through 3 p.m.

At 2:53 p.m. radar indicated a sever thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 8 miles east of Encinitas and moving northeast at 20 miles per hour.

A weather warning was also issued for Lindbergh Field. Lightning is expected in the area between 2 and 4 p.m. Some flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix have been cancelled. It's unclear if the cancellations are due to the weather.

Original post:

Rain is expected to alternate between light and heavy in San Diego County Wednesday as the latest in a week full of storm systems moves across Southern California.

Wednesday morning in San Diego County there is a chance of showers, with rain likely and a possibility of a thunderstorm after 10 a.m. The storm could produce small hail and gusty winds, and a wind advisory is in effect in the county from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Rain and snow is expected to increase this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service San Diego Facebook page.

More showers and a possible thunderstorm are predicted for Thursday, with daytime temps in the high 50s.

A flash flood watch continues for the coastal areas through 4 a.m. Thursday, and a high surf advisory continues through 10 p.m. Friday.

Two dozen cars remain submerged in flood waters at the Fashion Valley mall, Jan. 6, 2016.
Susan Murphy
Two dozen cars remain submerged in flood waters at the Fashion Valley mall, Jan. 6, 2016.

A flood warning has been issued by the San Diego River at Fashion Valley. The river is expected to exceed "flood stage" at 10 p.m. Wednesday, the weather service said. When this happens low water crossings in Mission Valley, including Fashion Valley Road, Avenida Del Rio, Camino Del Este, Camino De La Reina, and Mission Center Road, are expected to be closed and underwater, the weather service said.

Winds of between 15 and 25 mph are expected along the coast, with gusts up to 40 mph Wednesday afternoon.

In the mountains, a winter storm warning is in effect above 4,500 feet from 2 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Friday. Winds between 25 and 35 mph are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph.

Travelers are advised to check weather reports, prepare for inclement weather and use extreme caution.

Lee Swanson, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said his agency received 75 emergency calls between 3 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, many from people stuck in flooded intersections. He said emergency dispatchers were busy.

"We were, pardon the pun, flooded with calls that were not emergency calls at 911 - people who asked for a list of road closures, who asked about the forecast, and a number of people who called saying, 'There's water coming into my house,' but there was no hazard," Swanson said. He urged people to call 211 for information about Wednesday's storm.

RELATED: Winter Storm Pounds San Diego County Tuesday

City of San Diego spokesman Bill Harris said crews from various departments are deployed throughout the city to clear drainage channels and respond to other problems caused by the storm.

Early Wednesday afternoon he urged residents to check the exteriors of their homes and businesses for debris that could flow into gutters, clog storm drains and cause flooding. He said residents on streets scheduled for trash collection should return their bins to their properties once emptied, or position them out of gutters to prevent flooding.

Heavy snowfall is expected Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning, followed by light to moderate snowfall through Thursday night. Through Friday, between 6 and 12 inches of snow is expected to accumulate between 4,500 and 5,500 feet, between 1 and 2 feet between 5,500 and 7,000 feet, and from 2 to 4 feet above 7,000 feet, the weather service said.

The stormy weather is already playing havoc on local roads. The California Highway Patrol Wednesday reported that there were 374 traffic collisions Tuesday on San Diego County freeways and unincorporated area streets. That's more than two-and-a-half times the average of 140 crashes on a normal "good weather day," according to the CHP.

Forecasters say mostly sunny skies should return on Monday, with temperatures rising back into the low 60s.

Rosecrans Health Services Complex closed due to storm damage

Damage from the most recent storm forced county officials to temporarily close the Rosecrans Health Services Complex Wednesday.

The facility at 3851 Rosecrans St. suffered water damage in some administrative areas and near a clinic from what was believed to be a leaky roof during Tuesday afternoon's downpours, the county's Craig Sturak told City News Service.

The building is also in a low-lying part of town that's prone to flooding during heavy rains, but Sturak said it wasn't clear if standing water also entered the building.

The San Diego River overflows across an entrance to the Fashion Valley mall, Jan. 6, 2016.
Susan Murphy
The San Diego River overflows across an entrance to the Fashion Valley Mall, Jan. 6, 2016.

He said structural experts were examining the building Wednesday and will determine when the facility can reopen.

Meanwhile, many of the services offered at Rosecrans can be obtained at other facilities.

Sexually transmitted disease and tuberculosis clinics are offered at the Central Region Public Health Center, 5202 University Ave. in San Diego; North Coastal Public Health Center, 104 South Barnes St. in Oceanside; and the South Region Public Health Center, 690 Oxford St. in Chula Vista.

Additional tuberculosis clinics are offered at the North Central Public Health Center, 5055 Ruffin Road in San Diego and the North Inland Public Health Center, 649 W. Mission Ave. in Escondido.

Days and times vary for each clinic. Details are available at or by calling 2-1-1.

Residents needing to handle vital records can visit the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office at 5570 Overland Ave.