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Alaska storm dumps rain and snow in San Diego County

Winter weather swept across San Diego County overnight … with some areas getting over a foot of snow. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado visited Cuyamaca State Park and caught up with families playing in the snow.

Cold, windy and wet conditions will continue across San Diego County through Wednesday, with widespread rain and mountain snow before things warm up later in the week.

"Hazardous travel is expected, especially through the mountains," according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning will be in effect through 6 p.m. Wednesday in the San Diego County mountains, with snow accumulating up to a foot in some areas, with as much as 18 inches on higher peaks.


Alex Tardy, the senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service said this storm is ice cold, came down from Alaska and packs a punch.

"This is the best snowstorm in San Diego County by far, so this the coldest storm we’ve seen all year," he said.

Tardy said it dumped more snow and rain in San Diego County than anywhere else in the state.

"This storm really focused, came down directly from the north and turned a corner right over San Diego County," he said. "so we got more snow than even Mammoth Mountain, they got 6 inches and our Mount Laguna got 14."

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, at Pine Hill Fire Station and Pine Valley, 1.84 inches of rain were recorded over the past two days. At Lake Cuyamaca, there were 1.74 inches of rain recorded over the past two days. There was .89 of an inch of rain recorded at Brown Field and .79 of an inch of rain recorded in San Ysidro over the past two days.


School closures announced for Thursday due to weather conditions:

  • Julian Union Elementary School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Spencer Valley School District

Romeo Valdez and his family drove up to Cuyamaca State Park from Rosarito to enjoy the fresh powder with his family.

"We had a beautiful day with my kids in the snow, a snow day, so I like it, I love it," he said.

His daughters had a blast doing everything you’re supposed to do with a pristine blanket of snow: throw snowballs at dad, make snow angels and build snowmen.

"It's beautiful!" said Alayla Valdez, adding that she didn't expect to find this much snow on the ground. "It was like a surprise to me that it was going to snow this much!"

And it’s not over yet, Tardy said it will continue to snow through the night and temperatures will be even colder. He advises you to bring in your pets and anything else you don't want to freeze.

This storm does bring some relief, he said.

"We needed the precipitation badly, just a couple weeks ago we had record temperatures we had fire weather conditions that were becoming severe," he said, adding that while it helps current fire conditions, it doesn't help the overall drought picture. "It doesn’t do a whole lot for our drought situation we’re still behind where we should be."

Records low temperatures were recorded in Ramona and Idyllwild on Tuesday. It was 53 degrees in Ramona. The previous record low was 54 set in 2019. It was 34 degrees in Idyllwild. The previous record low was 35 in 2018.

A high wind warning will be in place until 9 p.m. in San Diego County deserts, with gusts up to 70 mph possible, bringing the potential for downed trees and power lines, and creating difficult travel conditions for high-profile vehicles, forecasters said.

A high wind warning will be in effect until 4 p.m. for San Diego County mountains, and a freeze watch will be in effect Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Forecasters said coastal slopes could receive more than an inch of rain, and coastal areas could get a half-inch before the storms move on.

"There is also a slight chance of thunderstorms for late this afternoon into early Wednesday morning," according to the NWS. "Snow levels around 3,500 to 4,000 feet (Tuesday) morning will fall to 2,000 to 2,500 feet for late (Tuesday night) into Wednesday morning. Showers will continue on Wednesday with greatest coverage in the mountains and in San Diego County. Showers will end from the northwest late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night."

Drier and warmer conditions are expected to develop by Thursday and continue into early next week.

  • After unseasonably high temperatures last week, San Diego is bracing for cold and wet weather over the next few days. Next, according to a new UC Berkeley poll, Senator Dianne Feinstein is down to an all-time-low 30% approval rating and her home-state support is collapsing.