Heavy rain likely to drench evening commute

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SAN DIEGO – A strong storm doused the San Diego area all day Monday and was likely to pound the evening commute with heavy rainfall, forecasters predicted.

The downpours, which followed a period of lighter showers over the weekend, were expected to bring totals of about an inch of precipitation along the coast and up to 3 inches in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

A flash-flood watch for local coastal, inland-valley and mountain areas below 5,000 feet was issued through 10 p.m. A series of heavy morning showers caused local flooding and road closures at more than two dozen locations in the city of San Diego alone, according to police. There were also reports of flooded streets and property in Spring Valley, Mount Helix, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach.

Over a 12-hour period ending at noon, the unsettled atmospheric system dropped 3.08 inches of rain at Palomar Observatory; 2.68 in Mesa Grande and on Otay Mountain; 2.59 on Birch Hill; 2.45 in Pine Hills; 2.41 at Lake Cuyamaca; 2.11 at Henshaw Dam; 2.08 at Miramar Lake; 2.07 in Julian; and 2.04 in Descanso.

Other precipitation tallies included 1.96 inches in La Mesa; 1.8 in Barona and Santa Ysabel; 1.79 in Poway; 1.77 in Goat Canyon; 1.76 in Harbison Canyon; 1.74 in Granite Hills; 1.68 in Ramona; 1.62 in Valley Center; 1.58 in Smuggler's Gulch; 1.57 in Alpine; 1.52 in Rancho Bernardo; 1.47 in Escondido; 1.46 in Kearny Mesa; 1.45 on Mount Laguna; 1.42 in Flinn Springs; 1.34 in Santee; 1.32 in Deer Springs; 1.27 in Campo and Goose Valley; 1.24 in Carlsbad and Mission Valley; 1.04 at Lindbergh Field; 1.02 in Warner Springs; 0.95 at Lake Wohlford; 0.47 in San Felipe; 0.25 in Ocotillo Wells; and 0.23 in Borrego Springs.

Road flooding and debris hazards were reported in various parts of the county, including Airway Road at La Media Road in Otay Mesa; Avenida del Rio, Camino de la Reina and Hotel Circle North in Mission Valley; Callan Road at North Torrey Pines Road in Torrey Pines; Carroll Canyon Road in Sorrento Valley; Country Club Road in Harmony Grove; Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach; La Jolla Boulevard in La Jolla; Lemon Crest Drive in Lakeside; Roselle Street in Sorrento Valley; and eastbound state Route 78 at Wynola Road in the Julian area.

The sustained showers were expected to cause increasing runoff and rising river levels throughout the day. Among the highest-risk areas were the Tijuana Valley, the San Diego River through Mission Valley, the Santa Margarita River in Camp Pendleton and creeks and streams along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The storm also brought gusty winds to the mountains, with a peak gust of 62 mph recorded on Volcan Mountain as of late morning. A wind advisory warning of sustained air currents of 25 to 35 mph with gusts potentially up to 65 mph in some locales was due to remain in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Through late tonight, snow was expected to fall as low as the 4,000-foot level, with three to six inches of frozen flakes accumulating in East County highland communities and up to eight inches on the highest peaks, the NWS reported.

The showers should decrease overnight and cease altogether during the morning Tuesday, giving way to clearing skies and slight warming.

From Wednesday through Friday, a high-pressure zone off the California coast and surface high pressure over the Great Basin will deliver dry weather and a continuing uptick in local temperatures, meteorologists said.