SAN DIEGO -- Warm and mostly sunny weather in San Diego County Wednesday is expected to give way to potentially damaging winds and rainfall that could cause flooding later this week as a strong Pacific storm moves into the region.
The wet winter storm is expected to bring light rain starting late Thursday, and strong winds and heavy rain Friday afternoon through Friday night. Showers will continue Saturday and decrease Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
"A storm system will move through Southern California late Thursday night through Saturday," according to the weather service. "Heavy precipitation and strong, damaging winds are expected for some areas."
Forecasters said rain totals would range from 1.5 to 4 inches along the coast and in the valleys.
Anticipated rainfall amounts through Saturday are expected to be .48 of an inch in Borrego Springs; 1.56 inches in Alpine; 1.57 inches on Mount Laguna; 1.59 inches in Ramona; 1.71 in San Diego; 1.73 in Julian; 1.87 inches in the Miramar area; 2 inches in Escondido; and 2.31 inches in Oceanside, according to the NWS. The snow level is expected to fall to about 6,500 feet by Friday night.
The rain may cause flash flooding, river flooding and debris flows.
The San Diego, Santa Margarita and Tijuana rivers will likely record significant flows, and the San Diego and Santa Margarita rivers may reach flood levels early Saturday, forecasters said. The Tijuana River watershed may also be prone to flooding.
Once the soil becomes saturated, flooding may also occur at low water crossing, near stream banks, in poorly draining urban areas and below recently burned locales. Rock slides may close some steep rural highways, according to the NWS.