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Winter Weather Causes Road Closures In San Diego County

Manchester Ave in Encinitas was closed to traffic after a mudslide, Feb. 28, 2016.
Alison St John
Manchester Ave in Encinitas was closed to traffic after a mudslide, Feb. 28, 2016.
Winter Weather Causes Road Closures In San Diego County
Record Storm Causes Flooding, Forces Water Rescues In San Diego County GUESTS:Dave Seneviratne, battalion chief, City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Alex Tardy, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service

Our top story on KPBS Midday Edition road closures flooding and at least one dozen rode rescues all caused by the record-setting storm that hit San Diego yesterday. Local authorities are still surveying the damage. Joining me is Alex tardy reporting meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Good to see you again. Thank you for having me. This was a bigger storm than the big when we talked about last week. How did it sneak up on us? This storm is bigger and that it produced a lot more rain in a short period of time. About 24 hours all the rain fell. Downtown San Diego about 2.4 inches of rain in 24 hours. The other storms have a lot more went and trees fell and more damage occurred. This storm at that amount of water in that short period of time is what brought the river to its highest stage since 2010 at 14.2 feet. How much rainfall did we get out of this storm? A lot of places on three or four inches of rain that that into the San Diego River. As much as nine inches of rain in Palomar mountain and that goes down a different river. What is important when you get that kind of rain it is the duration. How long or how short in this case the rain falls because that makes it run off very fast. This storm seems to have really made a beeline for San Diego. And northern Baja. It really did not impact Orange county or LA that much. It was unusual so everybody got a little bit of rain on Sunday. And then there was a break and it redevelops Sunday night and came back to San Diego and skipped LA and most of Orange and northward. It is unusual to see a storm come back and focus just on extreme Southern California. It is happened in the past and her friends up north in LA got no rain yesterday while we were having pouring rain or about 18 hours straight. It did not let up. It was incredible. Talk to us a little bit more about the San Diego River and what it takes to get it to the states that it got out yesterday. The river itself has a long history. We found slugs -- slugs -- floods back in 1916 that were bigger than today but when you start drinking at the flood we had today was the third highest of all time so it does not flood like this all the time it is very rare in fact you have to go back to 2010 and 1980 before you saw levels around 14 feet. There's a lot of infrastructure and concrete but the bottom line is that the river doesn't run most of the year but has a large basin and when you put that -- that volume of water that you would have flooding. And that is the type of environment and climate that we live in because when it rains that hard we will see a lot of problems. The heavy rainfall led to flooding in several areas of the county, most notably the San Diego River area and mission Valley. On the phone with me is Dave Italian chief with the San Diego fire rescue thank you so much for joining us. You are welcome thank you for having me. Are in your -- are any rescue still underway in the mission Valley area? There are two right now and to going on. It's not an active rescue but one is what we have at the hotel circle place and the other one is the welfare check that a family member called stating that somebody is staying at a hotel and they have not heard from him so firefighters are checking that. What is the situation like with the overflowing river? The river picked up 14 feet it overflowed to a lot of the low-lying streets and that is how the rescue this morning stent. What happened was at the hotel at hotel circle place firefighters and lifeguards advised the argument and hotel management to shelter in place due to weather last night and that Ms. So this morning we got a call stating that some of the occupants wanted to get out of the hotel but due to the flood situation I could not so at that point we made it a water rescue three which dispatched lifeguards firefighters police and the team from the fired apartment. Advised is the fire department have for people who may live in flooding or have to be in those areas. What are they going to be looking out for her what should they be looking out for? If you know that you are in a low-lying area and you are prone to flooding the city provides free sandbags at all of our recreation centers so you can go get sandbags and prepare for that by bagging whatever low-lying area you have. The main thing for us is taking extra time to go where you are going and if you think you have to cross standing or running water do not enter the area. Find another means to get where you are going. Will the danger from the San Diego River or other flooded areas last through most of today? So far what I can tell you about is what we are seeing that hotel circle place when I first got there at about seven bucks 30 -- 7:30 a.m. the water level was about two feet and slowing on hotel circle place and by the time I left I could see the street surface. On streets most of the water is receding. If it continues to stay dry throughout the day and throughout the week we will be in good shape. I have not looked at the weather and I do not think it is supposed to rain so I think we will be okay. We will be looking at the weather just now and I want to thank you very much San Diego fire Battalion chief Dave. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. You have a great day. I'm back with Alex with the National Weather Service. Tell us more about how you expect to see the flooding go down throughout the day and tomorrow. The river picked up 14.2. When I went down to the river this morning it was about 13.5 and just as I left a couple hours ago it was at 13 feet. It should continue to go down probably about six inches every hour. The thing about the San Diego River that makes it different than other rivers even to our north -- it's a flashy River. What we mean by that is when it rains the water rushes down?. It is relatively short duration about six hours from up in the mountains to all the way down and then you get all the local runoff from the city so it responds quick and also receives quick. It has a short period it is nothing like the Sacramento River or other rivers we see in California where they can slowly rise and then really slowly received. We can expect to see some very different weather in the next three days. Isn't that right sunny and warmer? This will be somewhat of a distant memory. What a spring we will have everything green. We are looking at rainfall now that is above our seasonal average. It's almost 11.5 inches of rain for San Diego. Our averages about 10 so we are surpassed that. The good news is we will get a good break with warm weather and lots of sun. It will select salons bring as we go -- it will feel like full on spring as we go through the weekend. Northern California will probably get another storm this weekend we may have to wait a few more days beyond that before we see anything here. Do not forget March on average is a very wet month. They? February averages. Okay. We will place ourselves. I've been speaking with Alex from the National Weather Service. Thank you again. Thanks a lot.

The thoroughly drenched San Diego area began the slow process of drying out Tuesday as the second of two very wet winter storms moved out of the region.

Though the downpours that deluged the county Monday and early Tuesday morning are largely over, many areas remained swamped hours later with runoff and overflow from rain-swollen waterways and overwhelmed drainage systems.

At the height of the showers, the San Diego River peaked at 14.15 feet — its third-highest level on record — and overflowed in Mission Valley, prompting closures of numerous nearby streets and water crossings. A flood warning for the area was slated to remain in effect into the late afternoon.

Minor flooding was expected to continue through Wednesday, according to forecasters.

RELATED: Winter Weather Brings More Rain To San Diego

As of late Tuesday morning, storm-related closures remained in place on various streets, including:

–Airway Road at La Media Road.

–Avenida del Rio between Camino de La Reina and Riverwalk Drive.

–the 400 block of Camino de la Reina; Fashion Valley Road between Hotel Circle North and –Riverwalk Drive.

–Friars Road at Ulric Street, and between Napa Street and Sea World Drive; Mission Center Road between Camino de la Reina and Hazard Center Drive.

–Old Milky Way from San Pasqual Road to San Pasqual Valley Road.

–Roselle Street from Estuary Way to Interstate 5.

–San Diego Mission Road between Caminito Yucatan and Fairmount Avenue.

–Sorrento Valley Road at Carmel Mountain Road.

–Sorrento Valley Road at Vista Sorrento Parkway.

–Ward Road between Camino del Rio North and Rancho Mission Road.

The widespread floodwaters kept rescue crews busy Tuesday morning, necessitating rescues of motorists near Lake Hodges, hotel customers in Mission Valley and a fisherman found clutching a fence in an area where the raging San Diego River spilled its banks.

The storm also led to a typical slew of rain-day woes on local roadways. On Monday, the California Highway Patrol logged 702 collisions. By comparison, the agency generally responds to roughly 140 crashes over an entire day of fair weather.

As of late Monday afternoon, San Diego International Airport had received more rain this season — 10.38 inches since Oct. 1 — than its annual average of 10.33 inches.

The showers also set daily precipitation records Monday at Palomar Mountain, with 5 inches (exceeding the prior Feb. 27 milestone of 2.05, set in 1983); Escondido, with 4.03 inches (exceeding 2.25, set in 1938); Alpine, with 2.43 inches (exceeding 1.1, set in 2003); El Cajon, with 2.29 inches (exceeding 0.9, set in 1983); Campo, with 2.23 inches (exceeding 0.84, set in 1951); Vista, with 1.87 inches (exceeding 0.76, also set in 1983); and Chula Vista, with 1.62 inches (exceeding 0.4, set in 2001).

As of 10:30 this morning, 72-hour precipitation tallies included 9.12 inches at Palomar Observatory; 7.7 on Mount Woodson; 7.32 in Mesa Grande; 6.73 at Henshaw Dam; 6.41 in Pine Hills; 6.39 at Lake Cuyamaca; 5.73 on Otay Mountain; 5.55 in Julian; 5.13 at Ramona Airport; 5.03 in Skyline Ranch; 4.95 in Santa Ysabel; 4.91 in Descanso; 4.73 in Valley Center; 4.69 in Poway; 4.65 at Miramar Lake; 4.57 at Lake Wohlford; 4.39 on Volcan Mountain; 4.09 in Rancho Bernardo; 4.07 in La Mesa; 4.06 in Barona; and 4.01 in Escondido.

Other rainfall totals included 3.99 on Mount Laguna; 3.78 in Lake Murray; 3.76 in Echo Dell; 3.7 in Deer Springs; 3.57 in Kearny Mesa; 3.38 in Oak Grove; 3.24 in Carlsbad; 3.21 in Campo; 3.18 in City Heights; 3.17 at Montgomery Field; 3.13 in Warner Springs; 3.11 in San Ysidro; 3.05 in Pine Valley; 2.92 at Tijuana Estuary; 2.84 in Del Mar; 2.83 in Encinitas; 2.74 in Mission Valley and Solana Beach; 2.72 in Goat Canyon; 2.69 in La Jolla; 2.68 in San Marcos; 2.5 in Linda Vista; 2.4 at Lindbergh Field; 2.36 in Tierra del Sol; 2.34 at Brown Field; 2.27 at SeaWorld; 1.97 in Chula Vista and Point Loma; 1.88 in University Heights; 1.84 in Ranchita; 1.47 in Mission Beach; 0.72 in Borrego Springs; 0.7 in San Onofre; 0.64 in Ocotillo Wells; and 0.53 in Agua Caliente.

The storm also dropped a half-inch of snow on Birch Hill, a 5,800-foot- elevation peak southeast of Palomar Mountain.

Sunny skies and warming temperatures will prevail through the end of the workweek and into the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.