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Heaviest rain from incoming storm expected to hit San Diego around midnight on New Year’s Eve

San Diego beaches could get wind gusts up to 35 mph on Saturday night.
San Diego beaches could get wind gusts up to 35 mph on Saturday night.
(Gary Robbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune )

Forecasters say some areas could receive about a half-inch of rain within one hour. Water could pool up on freeways, raising risk of hydroplaning for drivers.

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A fast-moving Pacific storm that’s tapping moisture from the subtropics is expected to unleash heavy rain across much of San Diego County about midnight Saturday — New Year’s Eve — and will be accompanied by wild winds, according to the National Weather Service.

Some areas could receive as much as a half-inch of rain in one hour. “Water could pool up on the road, raising the risk that cars could hydroplane,” said Brandt Maxwell, a weather service forecaster.

For the record:

9:33 p.m. Dec. 30, 2022An earlier version of this story referred to the Santa Ana River in Fashion Valley. The story should have said San Diego River.

Winds could gust 25 mph to 35 mph at and near the coast and upwards of 50 mph inland, especially along eastern Interstate 8. Driving will be especially challenging on the downward slope not far from the border of San Diego and Imperial counties. Patchy fog also is possible.

Forecasters said the storm will begin with scattered showers on Saturday morning then intensify in the afternoon and peak about midnight as the cold front whooshes through the county en route to Arizona.

The storm is likely to drop 0.75 inches to 1 inch of rain at and near the coast and up to 1.5 inches of rain farther east, in places such as Ramona, Escondido, Julian, Campo, Mount Laguna and Alpine. Palomar Mountain could receive as much as 2.5 inches of precipitation, all in the form of rain. The snow level will remain above 7,000 feet during this storm.

Although the rain will cycle into the area from the south, the air will still be cool. The daytime high in San Diego will be 63 on Saturday and 60 on Sunday. The seasonal average is 66.

This will be the second storm to hit the county this week and might be followed by new systems on Monday and in the middle of the week. The jet stream has dropped south “which is opening us up to a lot of moisture,” said Adam Roser, a weather service forecaster.

The opposite happened during the last two years, leaving the region with below-average rainfall. The current rainy season, which began on Oct. 1, has gotten off to a better start. San Diego International Airport has recorded 2.71 inches of precipitation, a smidge below average. Ramona has received 4.13 inches, which is 0.15 inches above average.

The incoming storm will drop 3 to 5 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada, allowing the state’s reservoirs to inch away from severe drought.

Updates

9:33 p.m. Dec. 30, 2022: Story has been updated with new forecast information.


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