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Inclement weather prompts closures at some San Diego County schools

A truck drives through snowy streets in Julian, Calif. Feb. 7, 2024.
Julian Chamber of Commerce
A truck drives through snowy streets in Julian, Calif. Feb. 7, 2024.

Go to storm resources ⬇

Wednesday's forecast

The latest in a series of strong winter storms brought more heavy rainfall and resulting traffic headaches to the already waterlogged San Diego area, and more rain is in the forecast Wednesday.

The unsettled atmospheric system, which moved over the county on Sunday, delivered widespread and steady showers on day three of what is expected to be a considerably wet week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).


An NWS flood watch will be in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday for the city of San Diego as well as the communities of Borrego Springs, Carlsbad, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Julian, La Mesa, National City, Oceanside, Pine Valley, Poway, San Marcos, Santee and Vista. Excessive runoff could result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying locations, meteorologists advised.

A winter storm warning for parts of San Diego County above 4,000 feet is in effect until noon Thursday, according to the NWS. Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute and strong winds could cause tree damage.

Forecasters also warned of the likelihood that strong winds — from 15 to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph in some places — could blow away unsecured outdoor objects, snap off tree limbs and cause power outages.

San Diego Gas & Electric, for its part, increased the number of field crews and equipment available "to restore power as quickly and safely as possible should power outages occur," the utility company advised.

School closures

Some schools will be closed Wednesday, the San Diego County Office of Education said, because of inclement weather and icy road conditions.


Schools in the following districts will be closed:

— Julian Union Elementary School District;

— Julian Union High School District;

— Mountain Empire Unified School District;

— Spencer Valley School District;

— Warner Unified School District.

Road conditions

As it did on Monday and late last month, the rain led to road closures across the region on Tuesday.

For a list of current road closures, visit the city of San Diego's storm resource page here.

Safety tips for driving during storms

— Avoid driving through deep water;
— Avoid oversteering or stomping on the brakes if you start to hydroplane or skid;
— Avoid texting or using a hand-held cell phone when driving;
— Slow down to avoid getting into an accident;
— Turn on your headlights to see better;
— Try to drive toward the middle lanes as water tends to gather in outside lanes;
— Defog your windows for better visibility;
— Never drive through a flooded roadway;
— Give the cars in front of you extra distance;
— Watch out for public works crews and equipment.

Source: San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and Department of Public Works

Because of heavy snow and icy roads in some mountain areas of San Diego County, chains will be required Wednesday, according to the county Department of Public Works.

The following roads will be under Level 1 chain requirements:

— Montezuma Valley Road;
— Palomar Mountain;
— San Felipe Road;
— Mount Laguna.

Level 1 requires snow chains on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two-drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one-drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.

What's next

Partly cloudy and rainy conditions are expected in the mountains until midweek, with highs in the low 50s. Cloudy and wet conditions are expected in the deserts all week, with highs reaching the upper 50s and low 60s, according to the National Weather Service.

Along the coast, partly cloudy and wet conditions are expected this week, with daytime temperatures hitting the low 60s. Inland valley areas are expected to be hit with showers through Friday, with highs reaching the mid-50s to low 60s.

If you need help ...

Due to potential harsh weather conditions, an emergency shelter at 2111 Pan American Plaza is open to the public and can be reached at 619-525- 8262. Services at the shelter will include places for displaced people to stay, meals, snacks, crisis counseling, help replacing medication and pet support from the San Diego Humane Society.

Alert San Diego has provided residents with all other information regarding flooding and can be found at the following links:

Residents can also text HELP to 98266 to get safety information.

The United Taxi Workers of San Diego is helping impacted residents get to the temporary shelter at no charge. To schedule a ride customers can call 619-280-4444 or use the "Ride United" passenger application. Residents seeking services should provide a pick-up location and select "Balboa Park Municipal Gym" or "Mountain View Community Recreation Center" as their drop- off location, county officials said.

A temporary homeless shelter has been set up at the Balboa Park Activity Center at 16th Street and Newton Bridge Shelter.

The Department of Public Works is picking up flood-damaged debris and items from homes in the unincorporated communities. Pickup in unincorporated areas can be reached at 858-495-5700. Additional storm recovery resources can be reached by dialing 211.

The county advised against putting debris near curbs during rainy weather, where it can wash away and cause a hazard.

The city and the San Diego Housing Commission have opened a new 50-room shelter at a former hotel site in the Midway district to provide a refuge from those impact the recent storms.

"Providing shelter and support for our neighbors whose lives were upended by the storm is a top priority," City Council President Sean Elo- Rivera said. "These creative options were possible through collaboration between the city, county, the Housing Commission and state of California. The road ahead of us is long, but this quick and meaningful action shows that we can create creative housing solutions when we all work together."

The county's Assessor's Office, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Public Works and Department of Environmental Health and Quality will be at the City Assistance Center to provide services to those impacted by the storms.

Gov. Gavin Newsom requested an official disaster declaration from President Joe Biden on Wednesday to help a recovering San Diego.

"The late January storm saw record-breaking rain in San Diego, where the worst impacts were felt in lower-income neighborhoods," Newsom said. "Many folks saw damage to their life's work that can't be recovered without federal support.

"I'm requesting a Major Disaster Declaration from President Biden to support communities in San Diego that were hit hard last month," he said.

If approved, the disaster declaration will help people in the impacted counties through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, vehicle replacement, food aid, counseling, medical services and legal services, a statement from the governor's office read.

Rainfall totals

Over a three-day period ending late Tuesday morning, the dark bands of clouds had dropped anywhere from a few hundredths of an inch to nearly 7 inches of moisture across the San Diego region, the weather service reported.

Among the rainfall totals from the storm by shortly before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the NWS, were 7.59 inches in San Onofre; 6.11 at Camp Pendleton; 4.42 in Fallbrook; 4.0 in Bonsall; 3.84 at Lake Wohlford; 3.77 in Mesa Grande; 3.72 in Oceanside; 3.68 in Skyline Ranch; 3.66 in Deer Springs; 3.47 at Rainbow Camp; 3.28 at Henshaw Dam; 3.27 in Carlsbad; 3.24 in Valley Center; 3.2 in Couser Canyon; 3.16 on Mount Woodson; and 3.05 in Santa Ysabel.

The latest tallies also included 2.97 inches in National City; 2.92 at Lake Cuyamaca; 2.89 in Escondido; 2.88 in Santee; 2.83 in Vista; 2.75 at Miramar Lake; 2.74 in Ramona; 2.73 in San Diego Country Estates; 2.71 in Alpine; 2.67 in La Mesa; 2.66 in Barona; 2.61 in Granite Hills, Harbison Canyon and Poway; 2.49 in San Marcos; 2.47 in Kearny Mesa; 2.45 in Encinitas; 2.4 in Flinn Springs and on Otay Mountain; 2.39 at San Diego International Airport; 2.36 at Montgomery Field; 2.34 in Campo; 2.29 in Point Loma; 2.28 at Brown Field; 2.27 in Pine Valley; 2.23 at Naval Air Station North Island; 2.2 in Mission Valley; and 2.13 in Rancho Bernardo.

Other four-day rainfall amounts were 1.94 inches at Dulzura Summit; 1.83 in Tierra Del Sol; 1.8 in Oak Grove; 1.75 in Warner Springs; 1.31 in Ranchita; 1.03 on Volcan Mountain; 0.59 in Ocotillo Wells; 0.35 in Borrego Springs; and 0.17 in Agua Caliente.

Local snowfall measurements included 6 to 8 inches on Mount Laguna; 6 inches on Birch Hill and Palomar Mountain; 3 inches in Julian and Pine Hills; 3 inches in Descanso; and 2 inches in Wynola.

Previous storms

This past weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Southern California due to the predicted severity of the storm, which so far has been significantly more intense in areas north of San Diego County. The proclamation includes provisions authorizing a California National Guard response if needed, facilitating unemployment benefits for impacted residents and making it easier for out-of-state contractors and utilities to repair weather-related damage.

In the late morning Tuesday, sightings of spiraling clouds in the sky heading northeast over Chula Vista prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning — a local rarity — for parts of the South Bay and East County. As of 12:45 p.m., when the advisory expired, there were no reports of any twisters touching ground, according to the federal agency.

This week's storm comes after 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 Newsom, 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, Mayor Todd Gloria said during a recent news briefing. He urged those who live or work in flood-prone areas to remain proactively vigilant as well.

"Now is not the time to remove your sandbags," the mayor said. "We can't predict Mother Nature. She's unpredictable."

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