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Third storm slams central San Diego County coastline

The third storm of the week moved into the San Diego area late Wednesday, delivering moderate afternoon rainfall that was expected to significantly increase in intensity overnight.

Following a respite of about 24 hours, showers began pelting the county again in the late afternoon as the latest bands of dark clouds arrived from the west, according to the National Weather Service.

At 5 p.m., the NWS issued a severe-thunderstorm warning for much of the region, including Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas Oceanside and Vista. The approaching system was expected to generate lightning and, potentially, winds up to 60 mph in those communities, the federal agency advised.

An urban and small-stream flood advisory also was in effect until 8:45 p.m. for the western reaches of the county.

The brunt of the blustery system was likely to hit the region in the early evening, then bring strong rainfall and mountain storm through the night, NWS meteorologist Stefanie Sullivan said.

Wednesday’s storm had caused no reported significant property damage as of early evening. It was a different story Tuesday, when cloudbursts and heavy winds flooded roadways throughout the county, knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and business, and toppled trees, including one that fell onto a mobile home in Flinn Springs, killing a woman.

Yet another storm is due to move over the region on Thursday afternoon, according to the weather service, pushing the risk of coastal flooding into the weekend.

Forecasters advised even the strongest swimmers to stay out of the ocean. Throughout the day, the rough seas were producing breakers as high as 15 feet.

Likewise, boaters were advised to think twice before launching. A small craft advisory will be in effect from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border through late Saturday night.

NWS forecasters estimated that this week’s storms could generate a total of 4 to 8 inches of rain near the coast, and 15 to 30 inches of precipitation on coastal mountain slopes. Desert areas are likely to receive between 2 and 4 inches, forecasters said.

Over a six-hour period ending at 5 this afternoon, the latest storm in the series dropped 0.4 of an inch of precipitation at Lake Henshaw; 0.23 in Oceanside; 0.18 in Julian; and 0.12 in Coyote Creek Canyon, Ranchita, Rancho Bernardo and at Palomar Observatory.

At Lindbergh Field - San Diego’s official reporting station - just 0.02 of an inch of rain fell between midnight and 4 p.m., the NWS reported.

Rainfall figures for Monday were significantly greater than the counts of Tuesday and today, with several areas recording more than an inch of rain during the first storm of the series.

Over the last three days, roughly 92,000 residences and businesses in the county have lost power, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. As of 6 this evening, a total of 5,257 SDG&E customers were without service, the utility reported.