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By Miriam Raftery

Updated January 23, 2024 to include city and county of San Diego declaring an emergency

January 22, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy rains during today’s storm caused widespread flooding, road closures, power outages, and inundation of vehicles and structures including an East County school. Flooding also prompted numerous rescues including motorists trapped in vehicles in Spring Valley and Lemon Grove, as well as homeless people stranded by rising waters along the San Diego River in Santee.

Richard Attaway took dramatic  photos  (left) of Mission Gorge Road in Santee just east of  Carlton Hills Boulevard, where he said “there are homeless clinging on trees for their lives in the river bed.” One video showed a woman stranded on an island surrounded by swift-flowing currents. Numerous emergency crews were on hand and at least one person was rescued from the floodwaters.

The Casa de Oro Alliance posted photos (right) of severe flooding that forced closure of Campo Road in Casa de Oro, submerging several vehicles.  The floodwaters also strewed landscaping rocks across parking lots at Albertson’s,  CVS and other businesses.

Tiffany Cabezuela sent video of flooding on Tyler Road near Bancroft Elementary School in Spring Valley. “The school flooded as well as classrooms,” she told  ECM in an email. “They had to eventually relocated the students to another school.”

Schools in the La Mesa-Spring Valley district will be closed tomorrow.  Schools in the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District closed early today due to flooding. Warner Unified School District cancelled transportation for its after-school program due to flash flood warnings and potential for rock and mud slides.  Julian Union High Schol District canceled some after school activities as well.

A piece of roadway swept away this morning in Lemon Grove on Federal Boulevard, where cars were stuck in water, NBC 7 reported.  The intersection at Massachusetts near the trolley station in Lemon Grove also flooded, inundating vehicles.

San Diego State University announced closure of a section of Canyon Crest Drive due to falling rocks; Alvarado Court near SDSU was also closed due to flooding.

Flooding caused power outages that left over 9,000 area residents without electricity, prompting SDG&E to warn the public to avoid downed power lines.

The Orange Line trolley through East County was shut down by flooding, as was trolley service downtown earlier today. 

The storm caused closure at many locations, including La Mesa’s City Hall, San Diego Central Library, Ramona Grassland County Preserve, and front counters at San Diego Police Department’s headquarters.

In Mission Valley, roadways near the San Diego river were shut down (photo, right, courtesy National Weather Service) and workers in at least one office building had to move vehicles to the roof.  A flood warning for the San Diego River remains in effect through midnight tonight.

Over the past three days as of mid-afternoon today,  much of the county received several inches of rain, topped by Santiago Peak with 5 inches.  Palomar had over 4 inches, La Mesa 3.89 inches, Dulzura 3.38 inches, Lake Cuyamaca 3.23 inches, and Santee 3.05 inches.

San Diego Mayoral candidate Genevieve Jones-Wright sent ECM a photo (left) and video of flooding.

She wrote, “Several of our underserved neighborhoods—including my neighborhood (Encanto) as well as my mother’s (Lincoln Park)( and friends’ (Mountain View) – are experiencing severe flooding that has resulted in trapped residents, damaged homes, and cars underwater. At least one home in my neighborhood is completely underwater and neighbors are conducting search and rescue efforts to see if there are people inside the house.”

She called on San Diego’s Mayor to declare an emergency and assure that help will be available to all communities. Later in the day. Mayor Todd Gloria did declare an emergency in the city ofSan Diego.

Late last night, the County also declared an emergency. Read details here on how to submit damage reports.

There is no word yet on whether other local cities will also declare a local emergency, the first step toward potential state and federal disaster declarations to bring disaster relief to residents in cities such as La Mesa,  Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Santee in East County.


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