Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Public Safety

Local assistance center aids storm victims as wet, blustery winter weather heads toward San Diego area

Less than two weeks after a historically severe winter storm led to disastrous local flooding and government state-of-emergency declarations, another significant spell of rainy and blustery conditions is bearing down this week on the San Diego area.

A widespread cooling trend on Wednesday will usher in the wet, windy and snowy atmospheric system, which is expected to arrive Thursday and linger through Friday night or Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm will deliver more heavy showers, forecasters advised, with totals ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches in coastal and inland-valley locales; up to 3 inches on coastal mountain slopes; and 0.5 to 0.75 in the deserts. Rainfall rates of a half-inch to nearly an inch per hour will be possible.


The likelihood of more seriously inclement weather over the period prompted the NWS to issue a countywide flood watch for Thursday through Friday morning. Additionally, in coastal communities, the federal agency slated a high- surf advisory from 2 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Saturday and scheduled a high- wind watch for the morning and afternoon hours Thursday.

Following a brief respite of mostly dry conditions over the weekend, additional rounds of widespread precipitation are expected to begin in the region early next week, according to meteorologists.

The added waves of wet wintry weather will arrive as the San Diego area struggles to recover from a storm that moved over the county Jan. 20 and generated three days of intense rainfall that wreaked heavy flooding damage in many areas.

Last week, the city and county of San Diego, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, declared states of emergency due to the disastrously heavy precipitation, which destroyed hundreds of homes. Much of the most acute destruction occurred in southeastern San Diego, notably the communities of Encanto, Logan Heights, Mountain View and Southcrest.

The wettest day during the storm, Jan. 22, was the fourth-wettest in San Diego since 1850, according to the weather service.


In preparation for the upcoming rain on Thursday, both the city and county are providing sandbags at numerous locations including community centers and fire stations… Cal Fire says the San Miguel Fire District Station 16, just a mile away from the Assistance Center has distributed about 30,000 bags in the last four days.

Thousands of San Diegans are still dealing with the aftermath of last week's flooding, including Spring Valley Resident Mary Ann Ramsey.

“It’s only been a week, but it feels like a month. It’s very overwhelming,” Ramsey said.   

Ramsey’s home and rental property were damaged by floodwaters. She said both houses are uninhabitable.

The County of San Diego’s Local Assistance Center at the Spring Valley Library has resources for people impacted by the storms.

County of San Diego spokesperson Chuck Westerheide said since opening on Sunday, more than 750 families have come to the center for help with everything from replacing prescriptions and driver's licenses, birth and marriage certificates, to finding temporary housing and pet supplies.

“It’s kind of the physical manifestation of all the programs that can be available for somebody to come and get help with,” Westerheide said. “They don’t realize until they see a program what they need. They just aren’t aware. They’ve lost everything. They know they need food. They might need some basic clothing and then they realize, ‘No, I shouldn’t be paying property tax on a property that is so damaged I can’t live in it anymore.”  

Ramsey said she got linked up with Team Rubicon, a relief organization that helps those affected by disasters.

"The volunteers that will come and help take debris off your property. They will spray for mold. That was the best one to me, that information and they’re volunteers and it’s free,” Ramsey said.    

The assistance center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

County Chairwoman Nora Vargas is encouraging volunteers who want to help flood victims to participate in a “Day of Service” on Wednesday

Donations are being accepted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at four locations: The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, the Sherman Heights Community Center and the National City Family Resource Center, and the Spring Valley Library.

They are asking for new and unused bedding, cleaning materials , clothing, equipment, water and non-perishable food and nutrition and other household items.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.