Finally, Rain Is On The Way To San Diego County
I am Maureen Cavanaugh and it is Monday, January 8. It is generally not breaking news when rain is forecast for San Diego in January. This year is different. The first big winter rainstorm of the season is in the forecast later today and tomorrow. It comes at a time when we have usually recorded more than three inches of rain for the season. So far, we have less than one inch. >> Some areas in Southern California are all ready seeing the effects of this first winter storm. House in the can is the storm expected to be? >> You are right. The light rain is started -- starting to move in. This is just the leading edge of what could be one of the more significant storms we see all year. Now that is easy to say when we have also started the season off as dry as we possibly could. Record-breaking dry start. When you say three inches of rain, we have only measured less than 1/10 of an inch. Even for myself, that is hard to picture that. We have been through a lot of droughts recently. This is yet another record broken. But hopefully that will be distant memory as we get into Tuesday. It looks like it is going to come down hard at times on Tuesday. >> Which areas may get the most rain cracks >> -- Most rain? >> Most areas of San Diego County will get up to two inches of rain. When it does rain around the commute time, we are going to be seeing half an inch of rain per hour in some places. We will see breaks later in the morning. The rain will fill back in on Tuesday afternoon and really come down hard and some places. Enough to cause some urban flooding. We could have flow in the streams and even the San Diego River will get a significant flow moving in their by the time we get into the afternoon. >> There is concern about the burn areas like the lilac Hills area recovering from that while fire. Does the storm have the potential for mudslides or flooding in burned areas cracks >> Yes, it does. The steep part of the Lilac Fire along I-15 would be the main concern. That really could send some debris flow down onto the road there. Even on the smaller roads. When you get down into the St. Louis River, a lot of the water will go down into the same place. We could see a lot of dirty flow of water down in that area. When it's all said and done, that fire could get close to two inches of rain on it. Things are going to move around. Most of it is not steep. We are not looking at a massive collapse of a hell, but nonetheless, a lot of dirty water has to get flushed out. >> It's also going to be very breezy too. >> That's right. If you recall storms we had in January and February of last year it seems so long ago. In those storms we saw wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour. Some of our coastal areas on Tuesday morning could see gusts of 42 perhaps even 50. When you start getting when gusts close to 40 miles per hour combined with heavy rain, it can bring down some trees off of different types and even impact power and some locations. So not a mild storm when it comes to the wind. We will see serious winds on Tuesday morning. The winds will decrease Tuesday afternoon, even though we will see have a showers. >> I read the forecasters are saying that this storm is a one-off in we will go back to being dry for most of the rest of January. >> Yes, unfortunately it looks like we will get back into this dry and unseasonably warm pattern starting later this week. All of this rain is going to end by midnight on Wednesday morning. We don't really see another chance for rain of any significance until we get probably after January 20. So that brings us to the end of the month. There is some indications we will get back into some rain, it is hard to say if it will be anything like we are going to see on Tuesday. There is some indications towards the end of the month. >> Is the dry winter we have had so far, but we have seen all ready, this record dry winter, is about enough to launch another drought cracks >> We are actually going to have a call today discussing that with drought monitor which is the main maps that everyone is used to looking at. When it comes to California, two or three months of dry, even though the record-breaking, even though it is all of December and all of November, it is not enough to really cause any bells or whistles to go off. That said, if we cannot get any significance snowpack come the rest of January, especially February and March, we will have to start talking about some level of drought. >> I have been speaking with meteorologist Alex tardy. Thank you.
After months of record breaking bone-dry weather dominated by a massive ridge of high pressure, a significant storm is finally on its way to San Diego County.
“Luckily, we do have this one storm breaking through the ridge to give us some rainfall,” said meteorologist Dan Gregoria with the National Weather Service.
The storm system, projected to arrive Monday night and continue through Wednesday morning, could deliver a substantial punch, Gregoria said.
“We’re expecting in San Diego anywhere from a half- to one inch, possibly locally higher,” Gregoria said.
Flooding and erosion are possible, especially in recent burn areas from the Lilac fire. But Gregoria said the storm will blow through quickly.
“Once it exits the area on Wednesday, that ridge re-establishes itself over Southern California,” he said.
San Diego saw a similar relentless high pressure pattern during its five years of drought. The condition was nicknamed the “ridiculously resilient ridge,” which acted like an invisible wall or dome that blocked storm systems from pushing through.
A reprieve came last winter when a steady lineup of atmospheric river systems dumped a deluge across San Diego, pulling the region out of drought conditions.
Gregoria said so far this winter, the long plumes of moisture from the subtropics are out of reach for San Diego.
“It requires the jet stream to dive further south and have these Pacific storms move inland,” he said. “They’ve stayed well off to the Pacific northwest.”
NOAA’s three month winter outlook shows a continuation of dry conditions — bad news for the region's already parched canyons and hillsides.
“January, February, even into March you can see the Southwest states and Southern California — continued below average rainfall is expected,” Gregoria said, pointing to a computer graphic.
But in the near future, rain is headed this way, and Gregoria is encouraging people to enjoy it while it lasts.
“It’s finally here,” he smiled. “This rain we’re looking forward to does help with our water supply at least a little bit.”