Strong winds, soaked ground uproot trees throughout county

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SAN DIEGO - Fierce, cold winds blew through San Diego County Sunday, causing trees to topple, road closures and some flooding. One driver died after an uprooted tree fell into a road in Pacific Beach.

The National Weather Service was busy issuing watches and warnings this afternoon. A marine warning urged boaters to seek safe harbor and golf tournament spectators to get indoors.

A motorist was killed by a falling tree Sunday after 3 p.m. while driving down a Pacific Beach street.

An 8-foot diameter oak tree fell across all four lanes of the street, crushing four cars, including a small Honda sedan containing the victim, whose identity was being withheld.

More than 18,000 San Diego Gas and Electric lost power Sunday, as a strong storm front was still blowing into the area.

The company said at least 22 areas in the north, south, east and central regions of the county experienced outages. No official word yet on what has caused so many outages at the same time, but the website indicated SDG&E personnel were working to determine the causes and get power restored.

There have been several reports throughout the day of high winds causing trees to topple, broken power poles and lines down.

Three inches of rain had already been recorded atop Palomar Mountain by mid-afternoon. Even though the weather was severe, a forecaster at the NWS said it was not caused by El Nino.

“It's a typical winter storm coming from the Pacific Northwest,'' Tina Stall of the NWS said. “El Nino events come from the west.''

The NWS issued a high wind warning for the mountains and deserts for the 24 hours through 6 p.m. tonight. Wind gusts could reach as high as 85 miles per hour in the mountains.

A high surf advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. for San Diego coastal areas, including strong rip currents and minor beach erosion expected from 8- foot wave sets.

Julian, Pine Valley and the Laguna Mountains should see snow, including the higher elevations of Interstate 8 east of Alpine, as the snow level could drop to the 3,000-foot elevation by Monday morning, forecasters said.

Up to an inch of rain was forecast for San Diego's coast and inland valley, as much as three inches in the mountains. Minor urban flooding is likely, according to the weather service.

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