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Thunderstorms, Lightning Hit San Diego

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Lightning Strikes in Ocean Beach

Thunderstorms rumbled across San Diego County Saturday as the remnants of Hurricane Dolores weakened and moved offshore from Baja California.

Lightning struck the ground more than 200 times, according to the National Weather Service. A few strikes sparked small brush fires that were quickly extinguished.

The heavy rains also caused flooded roads and led to some closures, including Genesee Avenue at Interstate 5, according to Caltrans. Hundreds of San Diego Gas & Electric customers also were left without power.

The storm was also expected to create higher than average surf and strong rip currents along the San Diego County coastline this weekend. A National Weather Service beach hazards forecast was scheduled to be in effect through Monday evening. Meteorologists said large south swells generated by the storm could reach local beaches by Saturday night.

"Monsoon moisture will bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms this weekend, and some contribution of that moisture could come from the remnants of Dolores," according to the weather service. "In addition, Dolores will generate large southerly swell that will produce big surf and strong rip currents on south facing beaches this weekend."

When the thunderstorms hit Saturday, lifeguards temporarily withdrew from their towers and warned beachgoers to take shelter, as moderate to heavy rain moved ashore along San Diego's coast in the morning hours.

The downpour affected a South Bay sand castle contest, while the threat of lightning delayed the Over The Line tournament at Mission Bay by 30 minutes.

A spokesman for the tournament, Sonny Peterson, said he saw lightning strike close to the tournament site.

Peterson said the OTL teams resumed play on Fiesta Island when it was safe. In the event of further delays, he planned to expedite the tournament's schedule on Sunday and, if needed, Monday.

The National Weather Service warned lifeguards that a "life threatening" storm cell was seen just south of Point Loma, and was headed in a northeastern direction at 10:30 a.m., lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky said.

Lifeguards confirmed the system's close proximity and Stropky issued Threat Level 3, which called all on-duty lifeguards to take shelter at headquarters.

Stropky said the beach was not shut down but his team warned beachgoers.

"We notified the public of the imminent threat," he said. "We highly recommend that they leave the area and seek shelter in buildings, away from metal."

Thunderstorms and lightning hit various cities in San Diego County earlier Saturday and the National Weather Service expected conditions to continue for the next couple of days, mostly in the desert and mountain regions.

According to the weather service, remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores, which is about 500 miles west of Cabo San Lucas, brought moisture and storm clouds to the county.

Although the weather service expected high surf and strong southern currents, Stropky said the waters were calm and there was no wind.

The stormy weather was predicted to clear by Tuesday.