Storm topples trees, more expected rain Wednesday evening


The latest Pacific storm to roll through San Diego County toppled trees, flooded streets, knocked out power to thousands of customers and kept emergency crews busy on local highways Monday.

The brunt of the storm had moved east by mid-afternoon, said Stan Wasowski of the National Weather Service.

“The air mass behind it is unstable somewhat’’ and could produce an isolated shower, especially in the foothills, Wasowski said.

A large tree fell on a house and crushed a vehicle at 3123 Quince St. in North Park, San Diego police Detective Gary Hassen said. The incident was reported about 1:20 p.m.

Another tree fell in lanes of Barona Road, about a half-mile from the Barona Casino, San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Anthony Ray said.

Yet another toppled tree blocked a lane of Viejas Boulevard near Mizpah Lane in Descanso, Ray said.

Several inches of snow fell on mountain peaks, and chains were required for vehicles on Sunrise Highway, County Road S-2 near the top of the grade and Highway 79 from Cuyamaca to Julian, according to Ray.

The lieutenant said snowfall on Chihuahua Valley Road near Highway 79 stranded local residents.

The California Highway Patrol reported there was heavy snowfall on County Road S-22 in the hills west of Borrego Springs.

Winter storms often lead to rescues of border-crossers in the rugged East County, but a U.S. Border Patrol official said there were no such incidents Monday.

Mud and rock slides forced closures of lanes of the Del Dios Highway near the Lake Hodges Dam, Highway 78 just east of the Wild Animal Park, and at Ramona Highlands Road, just west of Ramona.

Some Mission Beach residents awoke to high water on Mission Boulevard that nearly reached front doors, according to television station KGTV.

KFMB television reported that water flowed smoothly through Smuggler’s Gulch. A blockage there in December led to widespread flooding in the Tijuana River Valley.

The California Highway Patrol logged 170 incident reports between midnight Monday and 6 p.m. That figure compares to 50 to 75 such reports during a typical 24-hour period without rain, according to Officer Ray Scheidnes.

As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, San Diego Gas & Electric reported 19 separate outages affecting 17,393 customers, said the company’s Stephanie Donovan.

The largest outage knocked out power to more than 6,200 customers in and around Imperial Beach Boulevard. Other outages affecting more than 1,000 customers were reported in Rancho Penasquitos, Bonsall and Rancho San Diego.

Service was restored to the vast majority of customers by evening.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of more than 30 mph at Lindbergh Field. Steve Schmidt of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said that since the winds came out of the west, there were no delays to flight operations.

The rain pushed the season total at Lindbergh Field to over 8 inches, which would be two inches above normal, Wasowski said. Most other major reporting stations around the state are well below normal, he said.

Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be clear and cool, according to Wasowski.

The next system could arrive as soon as Wednesday night but “it doesn’t look really that impressive,’’ he said.

The expected rain Thursday and again Saturday should just be “nuisance stuff,’’ Wasowski said.