SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A blustery late-autumn storm drenched the San Diego area with heavy, wind-whipped downpours Tuesday, delivering the first significant local rainfall in months amid flooded roadways and widespread power outages.
The cloudbursts began soaking the county several hours before daybreak, starting in its northern reaches and moving rapidly south, according to the National Weather Service.
As of midday, the showers had dropped anywhere from a few hundredths of an inch to more than two inches of moisture across the region, the federal agency reported.
As the gusty winds howled through the county, power outages left thousands of San Diego Gas & Electric customers without electrical service, the utility company reported.
A predawn blackout struck San Diego coastal communities, including Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma, the Midway district and Lindbergh Field, leaving 3,700 addresses in the dark.
In the late morning, a spate of outages left about 10,800 homes and businesses without electrical service across northern San Diego County, according to SDG&E. Affected communities included Bear Valley, Carlsbad, Daley Ranch, the Dixon Lake area, Escondido, Harmony Grove, La Costa, the Lake Hodges area, the Lake Wohlford area, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos and Skyline Ranch.
As of 4 p.m., according to the NWS, the bands of dark clouds had dropped 4.36 inches of rain at Palomar Observatory; 2.55 on Boucher Hill; 2.33 at Henshaw Dam; 2.32 on Birch Hill; 2.26 at Rainbow Camp, near the Riverside County line; 2 inches in Skyline Ranch; 1.99 on Mount Woodson; 1.86 in Valley Center; 1.85 in Pine Hills; 1.8 in Deer Springs; 1.75 in Julian; 1.72 on Big Black Mountain and in Mesa Grande; 1.67 at Lake Cuyamaca; 1.66 in Escondido; 1.62 at Lake Wohlford; 1.45 in Fallbrook, Mission Valley and Oceanside; 1.39 in Descanso; 1.29 in Miramar; 1.27 in Carlsbad; 1.25 in La Jolla; 1.15 in Kearny Mesa and National City; 1.1 in Point Loma; 1.07 in University Heights; 1.06 in San Ysidro; and 1.05 in Encinitas and San Marcos.
Other precipitation totals included 0.99 of an inch in Alpine and Lemon Grove; 0.97 at San Diego International Airport; 0.93 at SeaWorld; 0.92 in Elfin Forest; 0.91 at Brown Field airport; 0.89 in the Granite Hills area, just east of El Cajon; 0.75 in San Onofre; 0.57 in Del Mar; 0.61 in Ranchita; 0.51 in Campo; 0.45 in Warner Springs; 0.3 in Tierra Del Sol; 0.24 in San Felipe; 0.12 in Oak Grove; 0.08 in Agua Caliente; 0.07 in Canebrake; and 0.03 in Borrego Springs.
The storm brought the first measurable rain to the county since October, when the region experienced some mild showers, weather service meteorologist Phil Gonsalves said.
The drenched roadways across the region led to a spate of traffic headaches for commuters, including a flooded stretch of freeway on state Route 94 near College Grove Drive in the Oak Park district of San Diego, shortly before 1 p.m.; large tumbleweeds in traffic lanes on state Route 905 near Interstate 805 in Otay Mesa during the noon hour; a downed tree across De Luz Road at Green Valley Road in Fallbrook, shortly before 12:30 p.m.; and an errant traffic sign on the roadway on northbound I-5, north of Carlsbad Village Drive in Carlsbad in the early afternoon, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Emergency crews had to extricate several people from damaged vehicles following collisions on rain-drenched area freeways over the day, and rescued two people who were swept into a surging flood-control channel off Mission Center Road in Mission Valley shortly after 1 p.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Most of the widespread precipitation was expected to fall through the mid-afternoon, then taper off from northwest to southeast into the early evening and dwindle out completely by midnight, the NWS advised.
Light rain will be a possibility in the county late Thursday into Friday, with dry and slightly warmer conditions expected to prevail through the weekend, forecasters advised.
Sandbags are also available in limited supply and can be picked up at nine recreation centers centrally located in each city council district.
FOX 5’s Domenick Candelieri contributed to this story.