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Environment

Second Storm To Hit San Diego County On Christmas Eve

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The rain and gusty wind in parts of San Diego County eased up Wednesday morning, but a second storm system is set to hit Christmas Eve and high surf will pound the coast through Christmas Day.

A National Weather Service wind advisory for the mountains and deserts expired at 10 a.m.

Among the peak wind gusts recorded in San Diego County in a 48-hour period ending at 9:30 this morning were gusts of 70 miles per hour in Harrison Park; 63 mph in Julian; 60 mph in Ramona; 59 mph on Palomar Mountain; 56 mph in Ranchita; 54 mph at Lake Cuyamaca; 53 mph in Pauma Valley; 52 mph in Boulevard and Warner Springs; and 50 mph in Crestwood and In-Ko-Pah, according to the National Weather Service.

However, the San Diego County mountains are in store for a second bout of gusty winds as the second storm of the week moves into the area Thursday afternoon. A high wind watch is set to remain in effect from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. West winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected, along with gusts that may reach 70 mph in some areas.

"Strong west winds are likely late Thursday evening through Christmas morning for the high desert and the mountain desert slopes as a low pressure trough digs across the region," according to the weather service.

Along the coast, very high tides are expected each morning through Friday. A parking lot at La Jolla Shores has already been inundated with sea water, 10News reported. A coastal flood advisory will expire at 10 a.m. Friday.

Although the rain from the first storm of the week had diminished, forecasters said more precipitation is on the way.

In a 48-hour period ending at 9:32 this morning, automated gauges in the mountains showed 5.37 inches of rain on Palomar Mountain; 4.31 inches at Birch Hill; 4.17 inches in Pine Hills; 3.41 inches in Julian; 3.33 inches at Lake Cuyamaca; 2.75 inches on Mount Laguna; 2.63 inches on Volcan Mountain; 2.60 inches in Descanso; and 2.30 inches in Santa Ysabel.

In the valleys and along the coast, Alpine and Fallbrook topped the lists at 2.81 and 1.48 inches, respectively. Lesser amounts were recorded in numerous other locales, according to preliminary NWS data.

Along with more rain, chilly temperatures and gusty winds, the second storm system may bring a white Christmas in some areas above 4,000 feet. However, forecasters said it could also affect holiday travelers.

"This storm will bring rain and mountain snow to the region with travel impacts expected for many of the local highways and interstates," according to the NWS. "Rain will make travel difficult along the major interstates, with mountain snow bringing impacts to several state and county highways."

Forecasters said motorists could be affected on Interstates 5, 8 and 15 and county road S-1. Visibility on some desert roadways may also be reduced due to blowing dust.