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Mountain areas could get up to 10 inches of rain

UPDATE -- 4:33 a.m. Saturday-- Hurricane Hilary has sped up, with the bulk of the storm occuring on Sunday, reports @NWSSanDiego

Wind and Monday now look less severe

By Miriam Raftery

August 18, 2023 (San Diego) – For the first time ever, the National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for San Diego County and neighboring counties,upgraded from a watch issued earlier today. 

Hurricane Hilary has been upgraded to a category 4 hurricane with 145 mile an hour winds off the Mexican coast, and is expected to impact our region as a tropical storm bringing dangerously heavy rains, high winds, flash flooding, and conditions conducive to tornados. Flash flood watches have also been issued for Borrego Springs, El Cajon, Escondido, Julian, Lakeside, Pine Valley Poway, and coastal communities. The storm could shift, so be sure to check for updates.

Rainfall is forecast to begin Saturday, with the heaviest rains Sunday afternoon when the tropical storm reaches San Diego County. The eye of the hurricane could come within 100 miles of San Diego. The National Weather Service warns that the storm will be powerful enough to potentially weaken or wash out bridges, flood structures,  close roads, cause power outages, uproot trees, and cause damage to porches, awnings, and unsecured mobile homes.

Below are highlights of warnings from the NWS for our region (the link also has details for neighboring counties):

Deserts: A flood warning has been issued for Borrego Springs and vicinity, with potential for “extreme flooding.” Underpasses could be submerged and numerous roads/bridges washed out. Rockslides and mudslides may occur.  Up to  7 inches of rain are forecast with wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour. In Ocotillo, just over the county line, winds could reach 82 mph.

Mountains:  A flood watch is in effect for Julian and Pine Valley, which could have gusts to 73 miles per hour and receive up to 7 inches of rain. (Note, this rainfall forecast has increased from previously.)  Scattered power and communication outages may occur. Prepare for significant wind damage and potentially catastrophic damage, the NWS warns.

Inland valleys: El Cajon, Lakeside, Poway and Escondido are also under a flood watch. Peak rainfall could reach 4 inches or more, with wind gusts up to 65 mph.  El Cajon is setting up its Emergency Operations Center.  Councilman Gary Kendrick advises,  “It could get  bad.  Stay safe.”  He urges residents to  “stay off the road Sunday and Monday….I suggest you stock up on canned food, water, matches, fuel. Roads may be blocked and power may be out. “  Trees may also be down, he adds.

Coastal areas:  Coastal areas from the South Bay through San Diego and North County  are under a flood watch. These areas could have gusts up to 60 mph and up to 3 inches of wind. Rough surf, coastal erosion and life-threatening rip currents are forecast. Due to dangerous conditions offshore, mariners are advised to moor boats and stay off the waters.

Precautions to take

  • Fill your vehicle with gas
  • Secure or bring inside objects that could blow and cause harm in high winds, such as umbrellas, planters,  or patio furniture
  • Apply sandbags to prevent flooding in low-lying areas
  • Have enough water and nonperishable food to last several days
  • Provide shelter for your pets from heavy rain and winds
  • Have your cell phone fully charged; consider getting  a solar charger and car charger in case of power outage
  • Be prepared for power outages; have flashlights and batteries
  • Stay home or in an indoor location on higher ground—don’t drive if you don’t have to be on the road.
  • If you must drive, be alert for falling trees, limbs, degree, or downed power lines.
  • Do not operate a boat or small plane during the extreme weather.
  • Know how to manually open your garage door or park a vehicle outside
  • Be prepared to evacuate if ordered
  • Have an emergency kit with medicines and food for all family members including pets, emergency contact information, etc.
  • If a tornado is approaching, take shelter away from windows in an indoor space on the lowest level of your home, such as an interior bathroom or closet with objects removed that could fall off high shelves, or an interior hallway, or under a stairwall.  Crouch low, face down, and cover your head with your hands.
  • Thunderstorms may spark fires.  Call 911 immediately to report any fires.
  • Check up on vulnerable friends, neighbors and relatives, especially those who are seniors or disabled.



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Perhaps they lacked a "storm Watch" in 1976

but there was a storm. Hurricane then Tropical Storm Kathleen resulted in SoCal flooding, and six fatalities in Ocotillo.