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Rain headed for San Diego County starting Thursday, possibly through Christmas

Lara McCaffrey / KPBS
Palm trees in Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego County, Calif. Dec. 14, 2021.

It's shaping up to be a wet holiday in San Diego County, with rain likely Christmas Eve and possibly lingering into Christmas Day, prompting forecasters to warn of possible flooding risks across the county.

The bulk of the storm was forecast to arrive Thursday afternoon and persist into Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

A flood watch was issued from 7 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday for the entire county, with the heaviest rainfall expected between 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday.


Estimated rainfall amounts prompted the city of San Diego to announce it would be closing several roads that cross the San Diego River in the Mission Valley area. Starting at 5 p.m., the following roads will be closed due to "imminent" risks of flooding:

  • Camino De La Reina between Camino De La Siesta and Avenida Del Rio;
  • San Diego Mission Road between Fairmount and Caminito Yucatan;
  • Mission Center Road between Hazard Center Drive and Camino De La Reina;
  • Camino Del Este between Station Village Drive and Camino De La Reina;
  • Qualcomm Way at Rio San Diego Drive; and
  • Ward Road at Camino Del Rio North.

It was unclear when the roadways will reopen, with city officials saying the city's Stormwater Department will monitor the flooding. Drivers were advised to follow posted signage and avoid flooded areas.

The rains are expected to bring up to 7 inches in the mountains, 3 to 6 inches in the valleys and 2 to 3 inches for the coast, according to the NWS flood watch.

A colder system from the northwest is expected to bring additional precipitation late Saturday into Sunday with precipitation amounts being much smaller, according to the NWS said.

Forecasters are also calling for a chance of snow overnight Saturday at about 5,000 feet.

Rain headed for San Diego County starting Thursday, possibly through Christmas