Feb 5, 2024 - News

Atmospheric river event expected to drench San Diego

The aftermath of the January 22 storm in southeastern San Diego

The aftermath of the Jan. 22 flood in southeastern San Diego. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's strongest atmospheric river event of the season is here, and it's expected to deliver significant rainfall to Southern California.

  • The rapidly intensifying storm leaves San Diego again working to prevent catastrophic floods like those experienced in the city's southeastern neighborhoods last month.

Threat level: The heaviest precipitation is expected in San Diego on Monday night and Tuesday, with 2-4 inches expected across the county, according to the latest forecast discussion from the National Weather Service.

  • With scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, a few pockets of heavier rainfall are possible.
  • The San Diego coast, deserts, mountains and valleys are all under a flood watch that began Sunday afternoon and lasts through Wednesday.
  • Rain rates should be mainly less than 1 inch per hour, though they could exceed that in localized areas, per the NWS. With scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, a few pockets of heavier rainfall are possible."
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency Sunday for eight counties, including San Diego, to support storm response and recovery efforts.

Yes, but: The historic Jan. 22 storm exceeded 1 inch of rain per hour in parts of San Diego's urban core, unleashing — with the help of the city's inadequate stormwater system — flooding that destroyed property and displaced families.

What's happening: As city crews continue clearing storm channels ahead of the storm, Mayor Todd Gloria reissued an evacuation warning for those low-lying, flood-prone areas in south San Diego, including Southcrest, Mountain View, Encanto and Rolando.

  • He encouraged people in those areas to find other accommodations to ride out the storm and to consider the shelter at the municipal gym in Balboa Park.
  • The city has staffed extra fire rescue crews, lifeguards and 911 dispatchers over the next couple of days.

Be smart: Residents can find sandbag pickup locations and a list of road closures here.

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