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Powerful force of winter storm misses San Diego County Thursday and soaks Los Angeles

Snowfall forced the closure of Interstate 5 through the Grapevine early Thursday morning in northern Los Angeles County.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The heavy rain that was anticipated to hit San Diego County Thursday morning did not arrived, instead soaking the Los Angeles area, prompting mudslides, debris flows and flooding.

Snowfall forced the closure of Interstate 5 through the Grapevine early Thursday morning in northern Los Angeles County, while a mudslide blocked traffic and trapped some vehicles on Coldwater Canyon Avenue in Studio City, and flooding blocked the westbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway near the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica.

In Malibu, more than four dozen people had to be evacuated from Leo Carrillo State Beach campground due to flooding, which also led to closures on Pacific Coast Highway. Decker Road was closed at PCH due to multiple rockslides, according to the city, which also reported multiple instances of downed trees blocking roadways. PCH was also closed at Puerco Canyon due to flowing mud.

A stretch of PCH was closed in Pacific Palisades due to a fallen tree that brought down power lines, according to Caltrans.

A winter storm warning will be in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday in the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range.

Meanwhile back in San Diego County, some mountain areas are still likely to get up to a foot of snow while widespread showers douse the rest of the area.

NWS forecaster Elizabeth Schenk said the new winter storm is predicted to drop one-tenth to a quarter-inch of rain on coastal areas, and a quarter- to a half-inch in the inland valleys and mountains.

"We're also looking at potential wind gusts of 30 to 45 mph, with localized gusts up to 65 mph in the mountains," she said. "That will make for very difficult traveling conditions."

The National Weather Service rescinded a winter storm warning previously in effect until 4 a.m. Friday for the San Diego County mountains, said Stefanie Sullivan, an NWS forecaster. Sullivan added that wind speeds will pick up Friday.

Forecasters said total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches were expected, while some areas above 8,000 feet potentially receiving up to 56 inches.

The new storm is going to be chilly as well as windy. `The mountains will be 15 to 20 degrees colder than normal, and the coast and inland valleys will be 10 to 15 degrees colder than usual, Schenk said.

Since Wednesday morning, rainfall totals have been .01 to .25 of an inch for coastal areas and valleys, while the community of Rainbow and Camp Pendleton have received .46 of an inch, Sullivan said. "We could still get some more light showers through Friday," Sullivan said.

The mountain regions have received .01 to over 1 inch of rain, but "for the most part, it*s been a quarter-inch or less," she added.

San Diego County has received more rainfall than normal thus far for the rainy season, which began Oct. 1, 2021.

"The average rainfall measured at Lindbergh Field this time of year is 2.63 inches, and we've received 3.19 inches so far," Schenk said.

But there is also some good news in the latest weather report.

"We're going to start to dry out Friday, and it looks like it will be dry through the weekend and into early next week," meteorologist Casey Oswant said.

Weather Alerts

Interactive Radar Map | Follow the rain as it moves into San Diego County

No weather alerts have been issued.

For the latest information on the forecast and the weather watches/advisories, download the News 8 app.

Sand and Sandbags

San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and ReadySanDiego.org reports that free sand and sandbags are available to residents and business throughout San Diego County at the following locations:

Storm Preparedness & Resource Information

  • The Get it Done app can help you report blocked storm drains, potholes and broken street lights
  • Sign up for Alert San Diego notifications for all your telephone numbers
  • Report flooding to the City's emergency dispatch center at 619-527-7500
  • Report downed electrical lines or gas emergencies to San Diego Gas & Electric at 800-411-7343
  • ReadySanDiego.org has information on how to protect yourself and your property during a flooding situation

For more information on preparing for a storm and what to do during and after the rain, click here to be taken to the City of San Diego’s Storm Preparedness website.

At Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs, CA the National Weather Service is forecasting up to 40-plus inches of new snow Wednesday through Thursday night. Snow Valley is one of four ski resorts in the San Bernardino National Forest.

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