Winter storm drenches San Diego County

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SAN DIEGO -- Snow blanketed the San Diego County mountains Sunday, and drenching rain in the valleys and coastal area led to crashes on slick roads, minor flooding, closures and some motorists on mountain roads being turned around.

Snow chains were recommended for drivers on icy South Grade Road at state Route 76 and on Palomar Mountain, and those without chains, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive were sent back down the mountain, according to the California Highway Patrol.


As of 3:30 p.m., automated gauges had collected 7 inches of snow on Palomar Mountain, 1.53 inches of rain at Pine Hills near Julian and 1.39 inches on Otay Mountain. Portions of Carlsbad got 1.15 inches of rain and more than an inch fell in several mountain and valley areas including Lake Cuyamaca, Warner Springs and the San Diego Country Estates. Lindbergh Field got over seven- tenths of an inch of precipitation.

National Weather Service forecasters said the mountain snow would continue the mountains through the start of the work week. A winter storm warning was set to remain in effect in the mountains until 4 p.m. Monday.

The snow level was expected to drop from around 5,000 feet to 4,500 feet late tonight. Less than four inches of snow accumulation was forecasted for areas between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, four to eight inches is expected from 5,000 to 6,000 feet and a foot could be possible higher then 6,000 feet, forecasters said.

The NWS advised mountain residents and motorists to prepare for hazardous conditions and road closures, and to carry chains, extra food, water and clothing.

The county sheriff's department was also advising mountain motorists, including those on area highways in Julian, Pine Valley and Descanso, to keep their gas tanks full and to keep other supplies in their vehicles. Some drivers may end up stuck in traffic for several hours, and public restroom facilities will be limited.

Those hoping to enjoy the cold weather were asked to be aware of private property, which could be marked by signs or fences, and is off limits for recreational activities. Additional law enforcement officers will be on hand to handle any large crowds that may gather in snowy areas.

Parking will also be limited, and violators will be ticketed, sheriff's Sgt. Carlos Medina said. Vehicles blocking the roadway and private property will be towed, he said.

Pouring rain caused problems for drivers elsewhere in the county. Flooding occurred this morning on the transition road from southbound Interstate 805 to eastbound state Route 52 near University City and up to 6 inches of water pooled on northbound Interstate 805 south of H Street in Chula Vista, the CHP said.

A few roads were temporarily closed due to flooding including Country Club Road in Harmony Grove and Quarry Road Dip in Spring Valley, according to the county Department of Public Works.

Crashes on freeways throughout the region were also reported. A flood advisory expired at 1 p.m.

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