rain on the freeway
Rain on a San Diego freeway. Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

A late-autumn storm drenched the San Diego area with strong and steady showers Friday, delivering welcome moisture throughout the region while ushering in scattered flooding and commuter woes.

The downpours, which began in earnest Thursday night, doused the county incessantly through the morning before beginning to dissipate over the afternoon, the National Weather Service reported.

The rains were strong enough to set some local records for the date, including 5.2 inches on Palomar Mountain, exceeding the old Dec. 16 high mark of 2.16, set in 1938; 1.94 in Escondido (1.5, also in 1938); 1.76 in Chula Vista (0.69, 1965); 1.76 in Vista (0.68, 1987); 1.36 in Alpine (0.43, 1965); and 0.89 in El Cajon (0.5, (1995).

Over a 24-hour period ending at 3:30 p.m., according to the NWS, the cloudbursts dropped 6.55 inches of moisture in Birch Hill; 5.69 at Palomar Observatory; 3.96 in Pine Hills; 3.88 at Lake Cuyamaca; 3.57 in Mesa Grande; 3.14 at Henshaw Dam; 3.05 in Julian; 2.9 in Descanso and on Volcan Mountain; 2.63 in Santa Ysabel; 2.6 in Skyline Ranch; 2.54 on Mount Woodson; 2.42 on Mount Laguna; 2.35 in Oak Grove; 2.27 in Pine Valley; and 2.1 in Fallbrook.

Other precipitation tallies included 1.95 on Otay Mountain; 1.89 in Elfin Forest; 1.78 in Goose Valley; 1.77 in Bonsall; 1.61 in Encinitas and at Montgomery Field airport; 1.55 in Ramona; 1.48 in Point Loma; 1.45 in Kearny Mesa; 1.42 in San Onofre and Solana Beach; 1.43 in Poway; 1.38 in Oceanside; 1.28 in La Mesa; 1.18 in Granite Hills; 1.09 in Campo; 1.07 in Scripps Ranch; 0.93 in San Miguel; 0.9 in Lakeside; 0.66 in Lemon Grove; 0.52 in San Felipe; 0.13 in Borrego Palm Canyon; 0.03 in Borrego Springs; and 0.01 in Ocotillo Wells.

The cloudbursts led to flooding in various locales, including along Quarry Road, which was closed between state Route 125 and Lakeview Road in Spring Valley for a time; Mission Road, which became submerged in the morning near the San Diego River; Sorrento Valley and Carmel Mountain roads; the 4800 block of Santa Fe Street; Cass Street and Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach; and Avenida del Rio South, near Fashion Valley mall.

The wet conditions also led to traffic snarls across far and wide. Between midnight and 6 p.m., the California Highway Patrol logged 546 collisions on local freeways and rural roads, as compared with the roughly 140 crashes the agency typically responds to over an entire day of fair weather.

As of late afternoon, the showers had become scattered and mostly confined to the inland valleys and mountains, meteorologist Mark Moede said. The precipitation was expected to peter out entirely overnight.

The weekend will be sunny, with slightly below-average temperatures Saturday prior to a slight warming trend Sunday, according to forecasters.

–City News Service