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SAN DIEGO – A winter storm starting Thursday afternoon drenched San Diego County with rain, creating treacherous travel conditions and triggering some road closures in a likely preview of what’s to come in the area’s holiday weekend forecast.

The bulk of the storm was forecast to arrive Thursday afternoon and persist into Friday, according to the National Weather Service. As a result, forecasters are warning of possible flooding risks across the county.

A flood watch was issued from 7 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday for the entire county, with the heaviest rainfall expected between 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday.

“Lifeguards prepare for this yearly,” San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Ric Stell said. “We go on a weeklong trip and do nothing but river rescue exercises so we’re prepared for this, whether there’s no rain for the year or there’s a heavy amount of rain.”

Estimated rainfall amounts prompted the city of San Diego to announce it would be closing several roads that cross the San Diego River in the Mission Valley area. Several roads in the area were closed by authorities Thursday due to “imminent” risks of flooding.

The same roads are at risk of closure Friday and they include:

  • Camino De La Reina between Camino De La Siesta and Avenida Del Rio;
  • San Diego Mission Road between Fairmount and Caminito Yucatan;
  • Mission Center Road between Hazard Center Drive and Camino De La Reina;
  • Camino Del Este between Station Village Drive and Camino De La Reina;
  • Qualcomm Way at Rio San Diego Drive; and
  • Ward Road at Camino Del Rio North.

Drivers were advised to follow posted signage and avoid flooded areas.

“It takes a very small amount of water to move a vehicle or to get you in trouble if you’re crossing the river,” Stell said. “If you see signage out, if you see barricades, please take an alternate route. Take a safe route and use caution.”

The rains are expected to bring up to 7 inches in the mountains, 3 to 6 inches in the valleys and 2 to 3 inches for the coast, according to the NWS flood watch.

A colder system from the northwest is expected to bring additional precipitation late Saturday into Sunday with precipitation amounts being much smaller, according to the NWS said.

Forecasters are also calling for a chance of snow overnight Saturday at about 5,000 feet.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

FOX 5’s Dillon Davis and Kasia Gregorczyk contributed to this report.