Winter storm moves out of San Diego area
A forceful winter storm that saturated the San Diego region this week began to weaken Friday following five days of heavy rain and accumulating mountain snow.
As of late morning Thursday, the notably wet and blustery atmospheric system had delivered anywhere from a few tenths of an inch to more than eight inches of precipitation across the county, according to the National Weather Service.
Though the storm has resulted in no reports of heavy damage locally, widespread flooding destruction from a much worse spate of downpours two weeks ago prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to seek an official disaster declaration from President Joe Biden to help the San Diego region recover.
"The late-January storm saw record-breaking rain in San Diego, where the worst impacts were felt in lower-income neighborhoods," Newsom noted. "Many folks saw damage to their life's work that can't be recovered without federal support."
If approved, the action will help hard-hit locals via eligibility for such support as housing assistance, vehicle replacement, food aid, counseling, medical services and legal services, according to the governor's office.
As a result of continued relief efforts, the city of San Diego has provided temporary housing for the displaced residents who were staying in the city's temporary shelter at Balboa Park's Municipal Gym. That shelter is now closed.
Following two snow-day closures, schools in some East County districts will open Friday, but with later start times, the San Diego County Office of Education said.
To ensure safe travel for buses and staff, the start of the school day is delayed and bus stops will run 90 minutes later than the regular time.
The following district schools will open Friday:
— 9 a.m., Spencer Valley School District;
— 9:10 a.m., Julian Union High School District;
— 9:20 a.m., Julian Union Elementary School District;
— 9:30 a.m., Warner Unified School District.
Schools in the Mountain Empire Unified School District are also open Friday, operating on a regular schedule.
As of Wednesday, the city and San Diego Housing Commission referred more than 600 residents, with 159 pets, for temporary placement in hotel rooms, including at a recently acquired hotel property in the Midway area. In total, assistance is being provided for nearly 200 households.
"I'm proud of the work of city staff and our broader community to help San Diegans in the wake of this unprecedented storm," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "Those efforts will continue alongside our partners at the county of San Diego as our communities continue to recover.
"I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for joining me in requesting a FEMA Major Disaster Declaration, which will help residents and businesses impacted by recent storms access much-needed federal assistance," Gloria said.
The city's Local Assistance Center will remain open at the Mountain View Community Recreation Center through the weekend. Hours of operation this weekend are Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. City of San Diego residents impacted by the storm can get a ride to the LAC at no cost by calling the United Taxi Workers of San Diego at 619-280-4444.
Among the local rainfall totals from this week's storm as of shortly before 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the NWS, were 8.13 inches in San Onofre; 6.66 at Camp Pendleton; 5.22 in Fallbrook; 5.21 in Mesa Grande; 4.61 at Henshaw Dam; 4.46 in Skyline Ranch; 4.55 at Lake Wohlford; 4.44 in Bonsall; 4.34 in Deer Springs; 4.27 at Rainbow Camp; 4.17 in Oceanside; and 4.1 in Santa Ysabel.
The latest tallies also included 3.94 inches on Mount Woodson; 3.87 in Valley Center; 3.81 in Alpine; 3.64 in Carlsbad; 3.63 in Couser Canyon; 3.5 in Escondido; 3.43 in National City; 3.38 in Ramona; 3.37 in Vista; 3.31 at Miramar Lake, on Otay Mountain and in San Diego Country Estates; 3.3 in Santee; 3.26 in Barona; 3.25 in Echo Dell; 3.21 in Poway; 3.16 in Granite Hills; 3.08 in La Mesa; 3.02 at Cactus County Park; and 3.0 in Campo.
Other five-day rainfall amounts were 2.99 inches in Harbison Canyon; 2.91 in Flinn Springs; 2.88 in Encinitas; 2.83 in Kearny Mesa; 2.82 in San Marcos; 2.79 in San Miguel; 2.74 in Oak Grove; 2.7 at Montgomery Field; 2.68 at San Diego International Airport; 2.65 in Rancho Bernardo; 2.6 at Brown Field and in Dulzura; 2.45 at Naval Air Station North Island and in Point Loma; 2.39 in Mission Valley; 2.29 in Rincon Springs and Warner Springs; 1.7 in Chula Vista; 0.61 in Ocotillo Wells; 0.42 in Borrego Springs; and 0.17 in Agua Caliente.
Local snowfall measurements included six to eight inches on Mount Laguna; 6 inches on Birch Hill and Palomar Mountain; 4 inches in Julian; 3 inches in Descanso and Pine Hills; and 2 inches in Wynola.
Due to the icy conditions and freezing temperatures in parts of the East County highlands, campuses were closed for the day Thursday at campuses in the Julian Union, Mountain Empire Unified, Spencer Valley and Warner Unified school districts.
This week's storm arrived in the aftermath of a spate of historically heavy downpours that left roadways, commercial districts and residential neighborhoods underwater across the region two weeks ago. The wettest day, Jan. 22, delivered the highest 24-hour rainfall amounts in San Diego since 1850, according to the NWS.
The inundation, which washed away many a parked car and heavily damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes, prompted the city and county of San Diego, along with the governor, to declare states of emergency.
Since then, authorities have been taking steps, including monitoring tens of thousands of storm drains, to prevent more storm-driven destruction, according to Gloria, who urged those who live or work in flood-prone areas to remain proactively vigilant as well.
A period of dry weather and slowly warming temperatures is expected to kick in over the weekend and continue into the middle of next week, forecasters said. More wet weather could arrive around the weekend of Feb. 17- 18 or early the following week, the NWS advised.