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Winds, rain from Tropical Storm Hilary hit San Diego

Gusty winds and rain from Tropical Storm Hilary moved through San Diego County Sunday during the damaging and historic storm.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch that will be in effect through Monday afternoon in the San Diego County mountains, deserts, valleys and coastal areas.

Three climate stations in San Diego received record rainfall for the month of August, just with Sunday's rainfall, according to the NWS.


— Escondido, 2.66 inches, breaking the record of 2.20 inches in August 1945;

— Vista, 2.12 inches, breaking the record of 1.78 inches in August 1977;

— Cuyamaca, 4.11 inches, breaking the record of 4.10 inches in August 1977.

The NWS warned of "potentially historic amounts of rainfall" that was "expected to cause life-threatening to locally catastrophic flash, urban and arroyo flooding including landslides, mudslides and debris flows through early Monday morning."

Winds gusts of up to 50 mph swept through San Diego, and were up to 70 mph in the mountains.


Hilary weakened from hurricane strength to a tropical storm early Sunday off the coast of Baja California.

"Areas of (2 to 4 inches per hour) of rainfall rates will be possible, especially over the mountains and towards the deserts this afternoon," the NWS' San Diego office said Sunday.

Forecasters issued a tornado watch for southeastern California in the afternoon.

The rain was expected to taper off by Monday afternoon for most areas, according to the NWS.

The San Diego Unified School District on Sunday postponed the first day of the school year from Monday to Tuesday, based on current weather projections.

"Postponing the first day will allow the district to assess any impact to sites and offices and ensure they are prepared to welcome students and families to the new school year," according to a statement from the San Diego County Office of Education.

"In conjunction with public safety partners, school districts, charter schools, and private schools are continuing to monitor weather and road conditions. Most school districts in the county have already begun the 2023-24 school year and, conditions permitting, will operate as usual on Aug. 21 to ensure students have a safe place to go and learn," the statement continued.

San Diego County officials announced Saturday that all county parks, buildings and facilities would be closed Sunday and Monday, including:

— All city beaches;

— Reservoir lakes;

— Regional and community parks and open space parks;

— Torrey Pines, Balboa and Mission Bay golf courses and;

— The city administration building.

SeaWorld and Legoland were closed Sunday, with SeaWorld officials saying they planned to reopen for normal hours on Monday.

San Diego Gas & Electric's emergency operations center has been activated. As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the utility was reporting outages affecting more than 1,300 customers in North City West/Torrey Pines/Fairbanks Country Club, Carlsbad, La Costa and South Vista.

Updates were being posted on

Weather shelters for the homeless have been active since Saturday in the San Diego area. Six locations are available with additional shelter beds. Individuals experiencing homeless can call 211 or show up directly to the following locations:

— Corky Smith Gymnasium, 274 Pico Avenue.

— Father Joe's Villages Shelter, 1501 Imperial Ave.;

— Living Water Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market St.;

— San Diego Rescue Mission, 120 Elm St.;

— People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) Interim Shelter, 1250 Sixth Ave.;

— Southwestern College Jaguar Aquatics Wellness and Sports, 900 Otay Lakes Road.

Authorities are advising people to stay indoors and especially to avoid driving, hiking or going to the beach during the storm.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a State of Emergency on Saturday, with San Diego city and county officials doing the same. Newsom met with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on Saturday at the San Diego Emergency Operations Center to discuss emergency preparations.

"The state stands ready to support communities impacted by Hurricane Hilary. ... We're mobilizing to prepare and respond to this storm," the governor's office said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was coordinating with California officials to provide support as needed. FEMA pre-positioned supplies at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, and a FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team deployed to the California Office of Emergency Services and is prepared to assist with any requests for federal assistance. Additional teams were on standby for deployment if necessary, officials said.

California's National Guard contingent has also "strategically pre- positioned resources throughout Southern California" as part of the statewide effort to prepare for the storm, officials said Saturday.

Cal OES, through the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, has deployed a total of more than 700 local government firefighters and support staff, as well as 15 Swift Water Rescue teams, two Urban Search and Rescue companies and three Regional Urban Search and Rescue task forces.

The city of San Diego was preparing for Hilary by placing "no parking" signs in low-lying or flood-risk areas, especially crossings around the San Diego River. Stormwater Department crews will also be cleaning storm drains and inlets with a history of debris buildup, street sweeping to reduce trash and pollutants from entering waterways, and monitoring 15 pump stations and more than 46,000 storm drains citywide for any issues.

Sandbags were also available in limited supply and can be picked up at recreation centers centrally located in each City Council District. Residents with identification showing proof of residency can receive up to 10 empty sandbags.

National City Fire Department and Public Works had provided over 1,500 sandbags before running out. The city's Public Works department was working to prepare the storm drain systems to handle the expected rainfall. The National City Police Department has deployed a homeless outreach team to notify those living on the streets about the hurricane conditions.

The North County Transit District announced Sunday that Coaster train service was temporarily suspended until further notice due to severe weather. Sunday's scheduled southbound Coaster departures from Oceanside Transit Center at 2:16 p.m. and 5:16 p.m. were canceled, as were scheduled northbound Coaster departures from Santa Fe Depot at 3:40 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. Customers impacted by the canceled trips may access NCTD+ Assist discounted rideshare vouchers through Uber and Lyft.

Amtrak and Metrolink both reduced their service for Sunday in San Diego County. Schedules and service levels are subject to change based on weather conditions and impacts.

San Diego online services will still be available Monday, including Development Services Department permitting services.

On Saturday, the U.S. Navy ordered San Diego-based ships out to sea to protect them against the storm. Those vessels included the carrier USS Nimitz and the destroyer Halsey.

The tropical storm watch is the first ever issued in Southern California, according to the National Weather Service. A tropical storm has not made landfall in California since 1939.

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