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San Diego County storm could linger through Christmas Day

The bulk of the storm will persist through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — It's shaping up to be a wet holiday in the San Diego County area with rain lingering into Christmas Day. If it wasn't the rain, it was the wind impacting Christmas Eve road trips. Officers responded to multiple accidents.

Early at 4 a.m., there was an officer-involved crash on I-905 at Caliente Ave. where a San Diego Police officer was responding to a call of a stolen a truck when she somehow collided with the back of a semi-truck, and her patrol vehicle spun out. Thankfully, the officer and the truck driver were not injured.

Also, in the South Bay, just before 8 a.m. at I-805, south of Bonita Road, a 41-year-old driver from Mexico lost control of his semi-truck on the slippery roadway. The CHP says the truck tractor jackknifed and slammed into the guardrail and then into the concrete wall.

The driver was not hurt, but his fuel tank burst and spilled about 80 to 100 gallons of diesel fuel onto the roadway. Traffic was backed up for hours. The right shoulder will remain closed for several days as repairs are done.

Charlie Duckworth drove five hours from Phoenix to San Diego and says he we saw two bad accidents in on the slick roads.

Chris McComick was driving in Poway when he says the rainy conditions got dangerous.

“It was brutal, I saw two cars actually hydroplane right in front of me, and it was on Poway Road, and it was a little scary because people who are driving are out here are driving a little too fast because they are all trying to get their stuff done today, I think,” Chris McComick said.

AAA says for this busy time, it projects 8.8 million people in Southern California will travel 50 miles or more away from home. The majority will be hitting the road and many in rainy conditions this weekend.

“You want to leave extra space between your vehicle and other vehicles to give yourself extra stopping room and also just slow down. We cannot drive like we normally do when it is 72 and sunny,” said Doug Shupe, AAA Southern California spokesperson.

Despite high gas prices, rainy weather and the busiest time of year, many drivers said they were excited to reunite with family they had not seen in a long time due to the pandemic. Charlie Duckworth drove from Phoenix to Sorrento Valley to see his two daughters, and his grandchildren.

“We are right now living in South Carolina, so it is harder to get together East Coast and West Coast to be able to get together, so we are looking forward to it very much,” Duckworth said.

The next busiest day on the road will be the Sunday after Christmas, so pack your patience along with those gifts.

A flood watch was issued until noon Friday for the entire county. A Beach Hazard Statement was also issued for a portion of San Diego County, according to the National Weather Service.

A high wind advisory was issued Friday by the California Highway Patrol for Interstate 8 east of Willows Road in Alpine. Gusty winds and slick roads were reported in rural East County in Buckman Springs, La Posta, Pine Valley and Crestwood, as well along Mountain Springs Road and Japatul Valley Road. Gusts were reported to have reached 49 mph.

San Diego River flooded near Camino De La Reina and Avenida Del Rio blocking an entrance into Fashion Valley Mall early Friday morning.

Six people and a dog were displaced early Friday morning after their second-story apartment in Rolando Hills collapsed. According to responders, there was apparently a water leak on the roof and it caused a small section of the ceiling to collapse. No injuries were reported.  

The forecast came with the usual cautions for travelers.

"Moderate rain could create slick roads and travel delays along with high mountain snow accumulations and gusty winds," forecasters said. "Additional rain and lowering snow levels could impact travel this holiday weekend."

The Inclement Weather Shelter Program at Father Joe's Villages and San Diego Rescue Mission for San Diegans was activated Thursday for those in the area experiencing homelessness.

Father Joe's Villages Shelter located at 1501 Imperial Ave opened Thursday for up to 45 adult individuals with an additional 10 beds for families with minor children and/or single women. Check-in began at 4 p.m. and will continue until the shelter is full. Check-out is 5 a.m. 

San Diego Rescue Mission located at 120 Elm Street opened for up to 10 adult individuals. Check-in started at 5:30 p.m. and will continue until full. Check-out is at 7 a.m. 

The City of San Diego announced Thursday afternoon the closure of several river-crossing roads in the Mission Valley area in anticipation of the storm. 

"Based on estimated rainfall amounts, the San Diego River is expected to crest and road flooding will be imminent," a statement from the city read in part. 

The following roads will be impacted by closures:

  • Camino De La Reina between Camino De La Siesta and Avenida Del Rio.
  • San Diego Mission Road between Fairmount and Caminito Yucatan.  
  • Mission Center Road between Hazard Center Drive and Camino De La Reina.
  • Camino Del Este between Station Village Drive and Camino De La Reina. 
  • Qualcomm Way at Rio San Diego Drive.  
  • Ward Road at Camino Del Rio North.

Crews with the City of San Diego’s Stormwater Department will monitor the flooding and determine when the roads are safe to reopen. Drivers are reminded not to enter flooded areas. To report flooding or storm damage, call 619-527-7500.

The rains are expected to bring up to 7 inches in the mountains, 3 to 6 inches in the valleys and 2 to 3 inches for the coast, according to the NWS flood watch.

A colder system from the northwest is expected to bring additional precipitation late Saturday into Sunday with precipitation amounts being much smaller, according to the NWS said.

Forecasters are also calling for a chance of snow overnight Saturday at about 5,000 feet.

RELATED: Rain in the forecast for San Diego

WATCH RELATED: San Diego’s Forecast, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021 (Morning) 

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