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Downpour closes roads, prompts flash flood warnings

SAN DIEGO -- Record-setting rainfall and driving winds lashed the San Diego area Thursday, prompting widespread flooding, fallen trees, mudslides and other storm-related hazards across the soaked region.

The intensity of the downpours prompted the National Weather Service to issue a countywide flash-flood watch effective through Thursday evening. A wind advisory will remain in effect in the local mountains until 4 a.m. Saturday.

As the rains intensified, the San Diego County Office of Education announced that Vallecitos Elementary School in Rainbow would be closed for the day.

Additionally, campuses in the Pine Valley-area Mountain Empire Unified School District were slated to close an hour early due to flash flooding, and students at Santa Margarita and Stuart Mesa elementary schools on the grounds of Camp Pendleton were to be let out prior to their usual end of classes due to road closures and potential flooding.

Moderately severe overflows along the San Diego River were expected until early Friday in the area of Fashion Valley and Mission Valley malls, as well as on the Santa Margarita River in the North County.

The intense rainfall set more than a half-dozen local precipitation records for the day, according to the National Weather Service. The historic Feb. 14 tallies include 10.1 inches at Palomar Observatory (topping the prior milestone of 9.58 inches, set in 1991); 4.02 in Ramona (2.15, 1995); 3.75 in Campo (2.12, 1954); 3.01 in Vista (2.58, 1980); 2.94 in Alpine (2.6, 1995); 2.68 in Borrego (1.73, 1980); and 1.28 at Oceanside Harbor (1.03, 1980).

Among the highest two-day precipitation totals at 5 p.m. were 10.44 inches at Birch Hill; 9.05 in the Palomar area; 8.12 at Henshaw Dam; 7.33 at Lake Cuyamaca; 7.11 in Oak Grove; 6.92 in Julian; 6.86 at Pine Hills Fire Station; 6.68 on Volcan Mountain; 6.36 at Red Mountain; 6.2 in Mesa Grande; 6.19 at Rainbow Camp; 6.04 on Mount Laguna; 5.52 in Santa Ysabel; 5.51 in Descanso; 5.23 in Fallbrook; 5.22 in Echo Dell; 5.14 in Pine Valley; 5.09 in Skyline Ranch; 4.81 in Ranchita; 4.72 in Valley Center; 4.63 in Warner Springs; 4.53 in Rincon Springs; 4.5 on Mount Woodson; 4.15 at Lake Wohlford; 4.05 in Alpine; 4.02 in San Diego Country Estates; and 4.01 in Deer Springs.

Other 48-hour moisture tallies included 3.98 inches in Bonsall; 3.96 on Otay Mountain; 3.86 in San Felipe; 3.82 in Ramona; 3.6 in Barona; 3.56 in Harbison Canyon; 3.41 in Oceanside; 3.4 in Flinn Springs; 3.32 in Escondido; 2.87 in Poway; 2.85 in Granite Hills; 2.84 in Santee; 2.4 in Carlsbad; 2.27 in La Mesa; 2.25 in Rancho Bernardo; 2.22 in El Cajon; 2.14 in Lakeside; 2.12 in La Jolla; 2.1 in Encinitas; 1.92 in Kearny Mesa; 1.91 in Lemon Grove; 1.67 in Mission Valley; 1.62 in Solana Beach; 1.53 in Borrego Springs; 1.34 in San Ysidro; 1.27 Agua Caliente and Chula Vista; 1.25 in Del Mar; 1.06 at Lindbergh Field; and 0.64 in Ocotillo Wells.

Snow levels will likely drop to around 6,000 feet Thursday evening, weather service meteorologist Miguel Miller said.

South-to-southwest winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts reaching 55 mph, were expected to continue through Thursday evening.

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By Thursday afternoon, street flooding and other storm-related problems were reported numerous roadways all over the county, including:

The storm will die down Thursday evening, but there will be chances of scattered, milder showers from Friday evening through Monday afternoon, Miller said.

San Diego Caltrans and Department of Public Works have also been tweeting updates on the road closures.

 

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