Past flooding on Mission Road in San Diego. Photo: OnSceneTV

A strong Pacific storm was predicted to ring in the New Year in San Diego County with strong winds and widespread rain Saturday evening, the National Weather Service said.

The rain was expected to be heavy at times and high snow levels could keep most accumulating snow above the mountain resorts, the NWS said. Areas of dense fog, heavy rain, strong winds and wet road surfaces were expected to make New Year’s Eve travel hazardous at times.

A flood watch was in effect from 6 p.m. Saturday through late New Year’s Eve for San Diego County coastal areas, mountains and valleys. A wind advisory was posted from 8 p.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Sunday for coastal areas, deserts, mountains and valleys.

Travelers also should be aware of an Airport Weather Warning in effect for San Diego International Airport. Wind gusts of 30 knots or greater may be possible from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday. The winds are expected to start from the southwest, becoming westerly around 3 a.m. Sunday and continuing through the morning.

“The storm will move out as quickly as it moves in,” the NWS said. “This should make for a quiet Monday with some sun, but continued cool weather.”

Another major winter storm was expected to bring some rain and mountain snow by Thursday, forecasters said.

Most local temperatures Saturday were expected to be in the 60s, with overnight lows in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Highs in the mountains were expected to be in the 50s with lows of 33 to 41, and highs in the deserts were forecast to be in the lower 70s with lows of 46 to 56.

Small streams and normally dry creek beds were expected to start flowing with water. Some minor rises in the county’s main rivers were likely as well. The rise in the San Diego River could be sufficient to overtop a few of the low-water crossings in Fashion Valley on Sunday.

Strong winds and hazardous seas were expected Saturday evening through Sunday evening. Northwest winds of 20 to 30 knots with gusts of 35 to 40 knots were expected over the coastal waters. A gale warning was posted for the outer and inner waters. Combined seas of 10 to 15 feet were likely Sunday, highest in the outer waters.

A west-northwest swell of 10 to 15 feet at 8 to 10 seconds could produce high surf at the beaches Sunday through Monday, with sets of 5 to 8 feet. Higher sets to 9 feet could occur in southern San Diego County.

A high surf advisory will be in effect Sunday through Monday. Surf will gradually diminish Monday, though more Pacific storms could bring elevated to high surf Wednesday through Saturday of next week.

– City News Service

Updated 8 p.m. Dec. 31, 2022