Warning to drivers about flooded roadways - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Warning to drivers about flooded roadways

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego's first big rainstorm of the season caught some drivers by surprise, and they ended up getting stuck.

A 20-year-old man whose van became stranded in heavy flooding in the Midway District was rescued by two officers who broke one of the van's windows and pulled the driver to safety, police said Friday.

The rescue occurred at Pacific Highway and Witherby Street about 9:40 p.m. Thursday, according to San Diego police Officer David Stafford.

The man could not roll down his electric windows or open any doors because of the pressure of the water outside, Stafford said, noting no one was injured.

"The water was up to about an inch before the top of the roof of the van. They tried with physical force to open the door and they weren't able to do it because of pressure. At that point they broke the window out and were able to drag him out of the van," SDPD Lt. Paul Rorrison said.

Around the same time in the same area, a taxi cab also became stuck in the water but the occupants were able to get out on their own, Stafford said.

Firefighters said heavy rain often floods the underpass because it clogs the storm drains. To make matters worse Thursday night, there was also a water main break, making the situation potentially hazardous. The motorist and rescuers were all taken to the hospital as a precaution.

"They have to get the shots when they go into this type of water. Not only that, you have debris that you have to contend with going in there. The cold water, dark conditions... so they do have these type of hazards when they go into these type of incidents," Grace Yamane of San Diego Fire-Rescue said.

Emergency crews warn this is every reason drivers should drive carefully in the rain this weekend.

Snowfall is expected in San Diego's local mountains meaning cooler temperatures in San Diego and more rainfall.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the San Diego area, forecasting snow to fall as low as 5,000 feet.

"It feels like we have a season for a day," said resident Jordan McHenry.

Local photographers captured an amazing sunset over Carlsbad State Beach on Thursday but earlier in the day roads were backed with car accidents.

"I was excited about the rain but once I hit the highway it was not so much exciting," said resident Ashley Gay.

The California Highway Patrol reports since 12:01 a.m. Thursday to 8:00 p.m. there were 324 collisions reported. On a usual day without rain, the CHP responds to about 50 to 75 collisions.

"San Diego is a bit of a challenge when it rains," said resident Lucas Matowski.

During the peak of the storm CBS News 8 went to one car accident after another involving catering vans, Caltrans and family SUV's in embankments stretching across the city.

"I like how all my friends on Facebook posted how San Diegans lose their mind when it rains," said McHenry.

The CHP said while rain is a factor it's the speeders who are the culprit. Officers report there were more than 60 car accidents reported after the rain let up. Officer Mary Bailey said the roads are still wet and drivers tend to continue to speed.

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