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Blustery early spring storm douses San Diego area

The morning sunrise over Mission Valley, Wednesday, following the latest round of storms, San Diego, Calif., March 22, 2023.
M.G. Perez
The morning sunrise over Mission Valley, Wednesday, following the latest round of storms, San Diego, Calif., March 22, 2023.

The first full day of spring arrived in decidedly wintry fashion in the San Diego area, with a blustery, season-straddling storm continuing Wednesday with widespread rain, whipping winds and potential for more mountain snow.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, the unsettled atmospheric system had generated two-day precipitation tallies of more than 1 1/2 inches along the coast, over 2 inches in the inland valleys, well over 3 inches in the East County highlands and up to four-fifths of an inch in the deserts, according to the National Weather Service.

Due to flooding in Mission Valley, Hazard Center Drive between Avenida Del Rio and the Hazard Center Court Drive roundabout is closed in both directions, TotalTrafficSD reports. The latest in road closures is available on San Diego Department of Public Works' Twitter account.


Though meteorologists recorded no new local snowfall Tuesday morning or afternoon, up to about a foot of frozen white flakes was expected to fall overnight in the highest reaches of the county, including Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, forecasters reported.

A winter weather advisory was in effect until 5 a.m. Thursday for San Diego County mountain communities. The icy conditions and winds up to 60 mph will make traveling through those locales "very difficult to impossible," the NWS cautioned.

As of just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, the local 48-hour precipitation totals included 3.61 inches on Palomar Mountain; 2.79 at Henshaw Dam; 2.63 in Mesa Grande; 2.47 on Birch Hill; 2.4 in Oak Grove; 2.18 in Pine Hills; 2.12 in Julian; 2.11 on Otay Mountain; 2.1 at Lake Cuyamaca; and 2.08 in Skyline Ranch.

Among other moisture tallies over the period were 1.78 inches at Lake Wohlford; 1.77 in Santa Ysabel; 1.72 on Volcan Mountain; 1.71 in Valley Center; 1.66 in Escondido; 1.65 on Mount Woodson; 1.64 in Descanso; 1.58 in Deer Springs; 1.57 in San Onofre; 1.45 in Encinitas; 1.44 in Oceanside; 1.43 in Ramona; 1.41 in Rancho Bernardo; 1.35 in Poway; 1.34 in Carlsbad; 1.32 in Miramar; 1.24 in San Marcos; 1.21 in Kearny Mesa and La Mesa; 1.19 in Carlsbad; 1.18 in Santee; 1.15 in Bonsall; 1.11 in National City; 1.08 at Montgomery Field; 1.06 in Vista; 1.05 in Flinn Springs; 0.99 in Granite Hills; 0.98 in Point Loma; 0.8 in Borrego Palm Canyon; 0.73 at Brown Field; 0.16 in Agua Caliente; and 0.12 in Ocotillo Wells.

Over a 24-hour span ending at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to the weather service, the storm-driven winds had reached top speeds of 83 mph in the eastern highlands on Palomar Mountain; 58 mph in the inland valleys in the San Miguel area; 52 mph along the coast in Las Flores; and 35 mph in the desert at Borrego Valley Airport.


Periods of rain and mountain snow will continue across the San Diego area Wednesday, followed by cool, dry and breezy conditions Thursday through next weekend, according to the weather service.

Another low-pressure system from the northwest could bring more precipitation to the county next week, forecasters reported.