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Cool fall storm brings rain, thunder, lightning to San Diego area

Storm clouds move in over a neighborhood park in Allied Gardens, San Diego on Nov. 15, 2023.
Erik Anderson
Storm clouds move in over a neighborhood park in Allied Gardens, San Diego on Nov. 15, 2023.

A blustery autumn storm that brought showers, cool temperatures and widespread lightning to the San Diego area is expected to linger Thursday morning and return through the weekend.

The unsettled atmospheric system out of the southwest moved over the county through Wednesday morning, and by early evening the inclement conditions had delivered anywhere from a few hundredths to seven-tenths of an inch of moisture across the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Among the local 12-hour precipitation totals by 5:15 p.m. Wednesday were 0.71 of an inch in San Onofre, 0.58 in Carlsbad, 0.5 in Oceanside, 0.38 in Bonsall, 0.32 in Encinitas, 0.3 in Ramona, 0.25 in Chula Vista, 0.23 at Palomar Observatory, 0.14 in Alpine, 0.13 in Escondido, 0.11 in Poway, 0.1 in National City, 0.07 in Borrego Springs, 0.05 in Mission Valley, 0.03 in Point Loma and 0.02 at San Diego International Airport.


As of early afternoon, the highest recorded wind speed in the county was 55 mph, at El Cajon Mountain in the inland-valley area, according to the weather service. Elsewhere, storm-driven gusts reached 49 mph in the East County highlands and 40 mph along the coast.

The stormy conditions also included lightning across the region — including in the Lakeside area, where the Barona Fire Department reported that a bolt struck a power pole, setting a transformer and a patch of vegetation ablaze off Mapleview Street.

The bands of dark clouds were expected to bring spells of rain and electrical-storm activity to the region through early Thursday, dropping a quarter- to a half-inch of moisture along the coast and in the valleys, one- half to one inch in the mountains, and less than a tenth of an inch in the deserts over the period, the NWS advised.

A second round of showers, more widespread than the first, is expected from Friday evening into the weekend, forecasters reported. Those cloudbursts will generate precipitation totals of 0.25 to 0.5 of an inch in coastal and inland-valley communities, 0.5 to 0.75 of an inch in the mountains, and up to 0.2 of an inch in the local deserts.

A break in the rain is possible Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon before additional rounds of rainfall from late Friday into the weekend, according to meteorologists.


Saturday will be the coolest day of the week, with highs five to 10 degrees below normal from the mountains westward, and one to three degrees under typical seasonal levels in the deserts, meteorologists said.

Following the storm's departure, the region will experience a quick transition to warm and dry weather early next week, accompanied by a several- day period of Santa Ana winds, the NWS advised.