Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Snow in Julian today, courtesy of San Diego Sheriff Media Relations unit

February 23, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Treacherous. Severe. Really dangerous conditions. Those are terms used by National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy in a webinar today to describe  a slow-moving atmospheric river, coupled with high winds and frigid temperatures from an arctic jet stream, swooping into San Diego County Friday and Saturday.

The storm could dump a potentially unprecedented three to five feet of snow at elevations above 4,000 feet in some parts of Southern California, with another foot and a half forecast on Mt. Laguna atop considerable snow that's already fallen.  Also forecast are debris flows in areas not normally subject to them as snow melts. Blowing and drifting snow will impact major southern California highways, including highway 78 and the eastern portions of Interstate-8 in San Diego County.

In addition to urban and small stream flooding countywide, the San Diego River is also forecast to surpass flood level. Along the coast,  30-40 mile per hour winds could topple trees. Inland, gust up to 60 mph could occur, while heavy rains are forecast even in the desert areas.

The National Weather Service has also issued its first-ever blizzard warning for mountains in neighboring San Bernardino County and for the San Gabriel Mountains. Highway 2, the main route to Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, has been shut down in anticipated of the snow.

“These are really dangerous conditions,” Tardy warns, adding that it’s “very unusual” for an atmospheric river to linger for 24 hours over a region.  The most dangerous period will be from around noon Friday to noon Saturday, with heaviest rains forecast for around 2 to 3 a.m. Saturday.

“Everywhere will have problems,” says Tardy, noting that in some areas this is a “purple level storm, extreme.”

Our county will dry out Sunday and Monday, but then another cold storm front is set to slam into the region at the end of February and beginning of March, bringing a high probability of “really wet” conditions and cold temperatures across Southern California early next month.






Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.