Forecast rainfall from the first of the three storms
Forecast rainfall from the first storm on Thursday and Friday. Courtesy National Weather Service

The first in a wave of three Pacific storms is expected to hit the San Diego region on Thursday morning, dropping up to an inch of rain and possibly spawning a few thundershowers.

This storm will be brief — just six to 12 hours long — but followed late Friday night by a much bigger storm, which San Diego meteorologists are likening to a “atmospheric river.”

This strong storm will last through Saturday. Rainfall is likely to exceed one inch along the coast and 2 inches in the mountains, and could cause the San Diego River to flood. The snow level will drop to 5,500 feet and make travel difficult.

A weaker third and final storm will hit late Sunday and continue into Monday.

“On Thursday, a fast-moving, storm system will bring cooling, showers, and a slight chance of thunderstorms,” the National Weather Service office in San Diego said. “Then a larger Pacific storm for late Friday night and Saturday will bring widespread rain and mountain snow along with strong gusty winds,”

“A third and weaker storm is expected for Sunday night and Monday,” the weather service added, “with dry and warmer weather returning by Wednesday.”

Along the coast, a new swell arriving Saturday will create waves up to 12 feet through Sunday.

Total rainfall during the period from Thursday through Monday is expected to total 1.5 to 3 inches throughout San Diego County.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.