Major cleanup after big storm surprises San Diegans - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Major cleanup after big storm surprises San Diegans

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Photo courtesy: Kristina Velencia Photo courtesy: Kristina Velencia
Storm damage in University Heights. Storm damage in University Heights.
Photo courtesy: Cynthia Rayo Photo courtesy: Cynthia Rayo
This photo shows the entrance to Penske on Balboa Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Photo courtesy: @ShannonCBS8 This photo shows the entrance to Penske on Balboa Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Photo courtesy: @ShannonCBS8
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  • Sudden storm rips through San Diego

    Sudden storm rips through San Diego

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-09-17 12:58:47 GMT
    A stubborn monsoonal heat wave kept the San Diego area roasting again Tuesday and added to the misery by generating lightning, heavy rain, hail and stiff winds that sent trees and power lines crashing down onto roads and buildings. 
    A stubborn monsoonal heat wave kept the San Diego area roasting again Tuesday and added to the misery by generating lightning, heavy rain, hail and stiff winds that sent trees and power lines crashing down onto roads and buildings. 

SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - It came out of nowhere, and before we knew it, it was gone. Powerful storms moved through the county, uprooting several communities within minutes, leaving debris and damage in its wake.

Crews and residents spent Wednesday cleaning up after the storm.

As of 5:30 p.m., about 600 homes and businesses from Casa de Oro to Point Loma remained without electrical service, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. All affected areas were expected to be back on line by sometime Wednesday evening, the utility reported.

Winds related to the monsoonal heat wave damaged electrical-transmission equipment on Tuesday, which initially knocked out power to around 17,000 San Diego Gas & Electric customers from El Cajon to La Jolla, according to the utility.

However, with more thunderstorms expected to develop over the mountains and deserts, the National Weather Service issued a flash-flood watch for the mountains and deserts late Wednesday morning. About 5 p.m., with the unsettled conditions abated, the agency canceled the alert.

"A very moist and unstable atmosphere will set the stage for the development of thunderstorms this afternoon, mainly in the mountains and deserts," according to the weather service. "The thunderstorms will begin to diminish by sunset this evening."

Forecasters said the storms would be relatively stationary, which will add to the likelihood of heavy rainfall over one location in a short amount of time. The risk of flash flooding will be the greatest along desert slopes and in areas recently denuded by fire.

The heavy rain, hail and stiff winds sent trees and power lines crashing down onto roads and buildings on Tuesday, as temperatures soared into the triple digits inland and spread humidity throughout the county.

"I've never seen anything like that in this area. We were just watching the garbage cans just literally flying down the street," resident Jim Orbin said. Orbin snapped photos in the aftermath of a microburst that ripped through San Diego and East counties, toppling trees by the dozens.

"It seemed to be one concentrated big black cloud that just came through," Orbin continued.

At about 6 p.m. Tuesday, gusts tore a hangar off its moorings at Montgomery Field airport in Serra Mesa, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The structure blew into several airplanes, knocking two of them over and causing a roughly 30-gallon fuel spill.

In the East County, the storm knocked over trees and power poles, damaged homes, vehicles and commercial structures and blocked roads, according to Cal Fire. No injuries were reported.

Students at schools without air conditioning in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado and National City were sent home early Monday and Tuesday as remnants of Tropical Storm Odile swamped the region.

While the Coronado, National and Sweetwater districts planned to maintain a minimum-day schedule again today, the San Diego Unified School District has opted to return to a normal schedule for all schools.

About two-thirds of SDUSD schools were put on minimum-day schedules for two days earlier this week, including Clairemont, Crawford, Garfield, La Jolla, Madison, Mira Mesa, Mission Bay, Morse and University City high schools.

Repairs were underway on air conditioning systems, and portable cooling units were installed in some bungalows, according to the district.

Those trying to beat the heat can head to more than 100 air-conditioned buildings, such as libraries and recreation centers -- dubbed "Cool Zones." A list of county Cool Zones is available at CoolZones.org. or by calling 211.

Forecasters urged people to schedule outdoor activities for the cool of the morning or in evening, to take frequent breaks in shady or air-conditioned areas and to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Those planning to be outside were advised to wear light, loose clothing and to drink plenty of water.

A cooling trend is expected to begin Thursday and bring temperatures back down to near-normal readings by the weekend, the NWS advised.

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