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San Diegans enjoying winter fun on first snow day of season

Monday was a snow day for some East County school districts, and for some San Diegans who headed up to Mount Laguna to play in the snow.

Richie Bugarine was one of them. He works in construction and said he had the morning off because of the weather, so he, his wife and their friend drove up for the snow.

"Today was super awesome," he said. "When we were driving, there was snow falling, so it was a cool experience.”

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Families could be seen playing in the snow, sledding, building a snowman and having snowball fights.

For Emily Mester, coming to Mount Laguna is a tradition on the first snow of the season.

"I love coming up here and hang out and see this beauty," she said. "Nobody knows that in San Diego, we get snow, so it’s my favorite thing. I love telling people, so being up here is really awesome.”

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It was 2-year-old William Pham's first time seeing snow, and his father said he wasn't entirely sure of the sledding experience.

"Well, he's a bit afraid when we slide down from (the hill), but he likes the snow," Ben Pham said. "He keeps picking up the snow and play with it but kind of afraid when he slides with me."

The storm was expected to dump nearly four inches of snow in the mountains, but meteorologists don't expect the snow to stay on the ground past Wednesday.

Four school districts in San Diego County were closed Monday because of the icy conditions and snow in mountain areas, according to the San Diego County Office of Education.

Julian Union Elementary School District, Julian Union High School District, Spencer Valley Schools District and Warner Unified School District were closed.

"The safety of students and school staff is of the utmost importance to San Diego County school districts," the Office of Education wrote on its website.

At the coast, county officials on Sunday advised beachgoers to stay out of beaches and bays because of the danger of rain bringing water runoff, which can cause bacteria levels to rise significantly.

Rainwater coming from storm drains, creeks, rivers and lagoon outlets may cause illness, according to the Department of Environmental Health and Quality.

"Water contact such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided during rain for 72 hours following a rain event," the DEHQ said.

The winter storm brought a band of heavy rain and mountain snow to San Diego County on Sunday as a cold front moved southeast across the region.

Two county roads were closed because of flooding, according to the San Diego County Department of Public Works. Country Club Drive, just south of Harmony Grove Road in Escondido, was barricaded and closed at 1:04 p.m. Sunday due to flooding and will remain closed until the rainstorm is over, the DPW said.

In Spring Valley, Quarry Road was closed at 1:27 p.m. from Elkelton Boulevard to state Route 125 because of flooding.

After a brief break late Sunday afternoon and evening, scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms were expected to move across the area later Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service said.

A small craft advisory was issued until 4 p.m. Monday for coastal waters from San Mateo Point to the Mexican Border and out to 30 nautical miles of waters from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border extending 30 to 60 nautical miles out including San Clemente Island.

Most temperatures Sunday were in the 50s, with overnight lows in the 40s. The mountains were expected to be in the mid-40s, dropping into the mid- 30s overnight, and highs in the deserts were forecast in the mid-60s with lows in the mid-40s.

Snow levels will fall through Sunday night, bottoming out around 3,500 feet Monday. Driving in these areas was expected to be treacherous due to low visibility in fog, snow, and blowing snow, the NWS said.

Tuesday and Wednesday were expected to be dry and cold followed by minor warming Thursday and Friday.

There was a chance for additional precipitation next weekend.

Gusty south winds 25-30 knots Sunday morning were expected to turn to the northwest Sunday afternoon. Rough seas, strong winds and heavy rain leading to reduced visibility may occur through much of Sunday and Monday. A slight chance of thunderstorms was expected over the coastal waters starting later Sunday night into Monday morning. Conditions were predicted to improve on Tuesday.

A longer-period swell of 7-10 feet at 12-14 second periods could arrive at the beaches after midnight Sunday. This may lead to some wave sets of up to 6-7 feet on some of the west-facing beaches on Monday and Tuesday, as well as enhanced risks for rip currents.