By City News Service
Rain kept hammering already drenched San Diego County on Tuesday, flooding roadways across the region and keeping emergency crews busy responding to hundreds of traffic accidents.
The downpours, part of a unusually wet storm pattern that began Friday, was expected to continue into the evening and persist on and off through midweek, according to the National Weather Service.
So far, the inclement system has dropped from 1.5 to 3.5 inches of moisture in coastal communities, 2 inches to nearly 5 inches in the valleys and nearly 12 inches in some mountain areas, the NWS reported.
With considerably more strong precipitation predicted for the region, a flash-flood watch will remain in effect through Wednesday afternoon.
Additionally, the weather service has issued an urban and small-stream flood advisory through 10 this evening and a countywide high-wind alert, effective from 9 tonight until 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Early Tuesday, San Diego lifeguards and Border Patrol personnel rescued three people believed to be illegal immigrants in floodwaters in the Tijuana River Valley, near Dairy Mart Road and Camino de la Plaza. One of the men needed medical attention for apparent exposure-related problems.
In the same area, San Diego police were advising ranchers to move their families and their livestock to higher ground while they had the chance.
"Streets in the area will likely be closed during (upcoming) rains, which will make any travel in and out of the area much more difficult," SDPD spokesman Gary Hassen said.
Motorists, meanwhile, had plenty of their own problems to deal with on the county's drenched roadways.
Between midnight and 2 p.m., the California Highway Patrol logged 252 accidents in the San Diego region. By comparison, the state agency typically responds to 50-75 crashes over a full day of fair weather.
At midday, prolonged showers prompted Caltrans to shut down the Interstate 15 express lanes between State Route 163 Scripps Ranch and SR-56 in Rancho Penasquitos. Engineers planned to monitor the weather through early evening to determine when to reopen the lanes, which normally are available for northbound traffic from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
The cloudbursts also resulted in partial or full closures of the following routes over the morning and afternoon, according to the CHP:
- Mussey Grade Road at Dos Picos Park Road in the Rosemont area, boulder in the northbound lanes;
- westbound SR-94 at Federal Boulevard, Oak Park, flooding;
- SR-76, just east of southbound Interstate 15, Pala Mesa, rocks in the lanes;
- SR-76, just west of Rice Canyon Road, Pala area, rock slide;
- SR-78, just west of Horizon View Drive, Ramona, mud and a large rock in roadway;
- 10900 block of Roselle Street, Sorrento Valley, flooding;
- First Street at Dawnridge Avenue, unincorporated El Cajon, fallen tree;
- Wildcat Canyon Road, near Willow Road, Lakeside, large rock;
- 8900 block of Harmony Grove Road, Harmony Grove, rock and mud slide;
- Cassou Road at Sunny Vista Lane in the San Marcos area, fallen tree;
- Alpine Boulevard, near Peutz Valley Road in Glen Oaks, mud and 2- to 4-foot-diameter boulders;
- southbound I-5 at SR-52, La Jolla Village, mud and other debris;
- southbound SR-163, just north of University Avenue, Hillcrest, rocks about the size of soccer balls;
- 4400 block of Delta Street, Mountain View district of San Diego, flooding;
- Jamul Drive at Steele Canyon Road, Jamacha, mud slide;
- Civic Center Drive onramp to northbound I-5, National City, flooding;
- northbound I-5, just south of Main Street, National City, flooding;
- 10600 block of Queen Avenue, unincorporated El Cajon, flooding;
- eastbound National Avenue onramp to northbound I-5, Logan Heights, flooding;
- westbound Washington Street onramp to northbound SR-163, Hillcrest, flooding;
- Carmel Mountain Road onramp to northbound I-5, Carmel Valley, flooding; and
- Vandegrift Boulevard east of Stuart Mesa Road, Camp Pendleton, flooding.