By Miriam Raftery
January 17, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service warns that a series of strong Pacific storms will pack a wallop across Southern California from Thursday, January 19th through Tuesday, January 24th—bringing flooding of rivers, possible mudslides and tree damage from saturated grounds.
The San Diego River may reach 7.5 feet by 6 p.m. this Friday, causing flooding and road closures at crossings in Mission Valley. (For updates, see WATER.WEATHER.GOV/AHPS2/INDEX.PHP?WFO=SGX)
The San Luis Rey, Santa Margarita and Tijuana Rivers may also reach flood levels; residents are advised to prepare and move equipment and animals to higher ground if necessary.
According to the forecast, this will be the first time since 2010 that the developing weather pattern will have potential to create an extended period of enhanced runoff into area streams and rivers. Soils are expected to become saturated, with most rain later in the storm series becoming runoff.
Mountain areas may get 5 to 10 inches of precipitation with snow levels down to 4500 or 5000 feet over the six-day storm period. Valleys could get 3 to 5 inches, coastal areas 2 to 4 inches, and deserts 1 to 3 inches.
Camp Pendleton, Vandergrift and Stuart Mesa Roads may have road closures due to flooding.
Along the San Luis Rey River, dense overgrowth could cause channel blockages; local flooding is possible upstream from Bonsall to Pauma Valley. Road closures are possible including Shearer crossing, Couser Canyon and Lilac Road.
Very hazardous road conditions are expected in mountain areas across Southern California, with several feet of snow expected above 6,000 feet. Delay travel if possible until after the storm series has passed.
Rough seas are forecast along coastal waters, with winds up to 35 knots and swells from 12 to 18 feet, peaking on Saturday. Avoid boating and other water activities.
The good news is the wet weather will bring significant relief from the drought, which has already been declared over in more than 40% of California. Southern California officials remains in drought conditions—though the end may be in sight, after the coming drenching.