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Cool autumn storm brings showers to San Diego area

Cars in the rain in San Diego
Mike Damron
/
KPBS
Cars navigate the rain-slicked roads of San Diego County on Sept. 9, 2022

A chilly autumn storm brought widespread rainfall and a chance of light, short-lived mountain snow to the San Diego area Tuesday.

After generating some scattered drizzle, the unsettled atmospheric system out of the north began delivering steady showers to the county at around 8 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

By late afternoon, the downpours had dropped up to an inch or so of moisture along the coast, nearly two inches in parts of the inland valleys, as much as four-plus inches in the mountains and around one-tenth of an inch in the deserts, the NWS reported.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Tardy told KPBS that San Diego is getting heavy rain because the storm attracted tropical moisture that is typical of atmospheric rivers.

“What we’re dealing with is a Pacific storm that is coming from the Gulf of Alaska. But it is interacting with tropical moisture so we are calling it an atmospheric river,” Tardy said.

Among the highest local rainfall tallies as of 4 p.m. were 4.13 inches at Palomar Observatory, 2.75 at Henshaw Dam, 2.1 at Birch Hill, 2.09 in Mesa Grande, 1.99 in Skyline Ranch, 1.75 at Lake Cuyamaca, 1.74 in Julian and 1.32 at Mount Woodson.

Though no San Diego-area snowfall had been recorded as of 6 p.m., there was a chance of some arriving overnight in the upper reaches of the East County highlands, meteorologists said. Any that might come down, however, was not expected to stick around for long after reaching the ground.

Tardy said the rain goes a long way to reducing San Diego's wildfires risk. 

“So this puts an end to our fire season, at least for November and much of December," Tardy said. "So it’s great news for that. It’s just a drop in the bucket for the drought. But we’ll take it.”

Tardy says for two years, Southern California had gotten about half the rainfall it would normally get.

The rain will likely continue off and on through the afternoon and overnight before largely dissipating by midday Wednesday, the NWS advised.

Cool but dry conditions were expected to prevail through the weekend, followed by a chance of more rain early next week, according to forecasters.

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