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Storm batters South Bay, flooding streets and forcing horse evacuations

The storm that came through San Diego on Monday through Tuesday morning left a big mess throughout the county. In the South Bay, some parts of the Tijuana River Valley remained flooded on Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the area received 2 to 3 inches of rain from this latest storm, but the mountain areas received between 4 to 5 inches. And all of that water travels down to the Tijuana River Valley, flooding the area.

"It happens every year," said Eileen Barnes, owner of Surfside Ranch in San Ysidro. She said every time it rains, the area gets flooded over, but this latest storm was different.


“This is supposed to be the most rain that we've gotten in a couple of days consecutively,” she said.

Down the street from her, Pony Land ranch had to call Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for help evacuating its horses Monday afternoon. The owners of Pony Land were still evacuating some of their horses Tuesday afternoon.

"Anytime that we can help members of the community, yeah, we certainly will,” said CBP spokesperson Angel Moreno. He said CBP's Imperial Beach Horse Patrol Unit rescued nearly 30 horses.

Many of them were taken to the Imperial Beach Border Patrol station until flooding evaporated and horses could be returned.

Mud, puddle and a partially stripped lamina on a barn at Surfside Ranch following a storm, Jan. 17, 2023.
Alexander Nguyen
Mud, a puddle and partially stripped lamina on a barn at Surfside Ranch following a storm, Jan. 17, 2023.

Hollister Street, one of the main roads in the area, remained flooded where it crosses the Tijuana River. One truck attempted to drive across the flooded street but turned back when the water got too deep. Most turned around, including a mail carrier who said homeowners in the area know not to expect their mail to be delivered for several days when the street is flooded.


The NWS urged drivers never to cross a flooded road because the roadbed may have collapsed or washed out under the water.

For Barnes, her ranch was relatively unscathed except for a few giant puddles, mud and partially stripped lamina on the side of the barn. As for her horses, she said other than being stuck in the mud, they are doing fine.

“But I mean, I don't like them to be standing in the mud because it's not good for their feet,” Barnes said.