Expect cold temperatures, fierce winds and sporadic rain in San Diego County this week
The rain and snow that began falling Sunday night will last through Monday and will be followed by potentially damaging winds Tuesday and lows in the 30s at the coast early Wednesday.
The meandering Pacific storm that blew into San Diego County on Sunday night with sporadic rain, snow and thunder will be followed early Tuesday by a second system that will produce blustery winds, the National Weather Service said.
The storm arriving Tuesday — Valentine’s Day — also will bring a wave of cold air from northwestern Canada and Alaska that will drop temperatures into the 30s along much the coastline before dawn on Wednesday. Thursday could be even colder. And forecasters say that a third storm could bring cold and rain to the county this weekend.
Officials closed schools in the Julian Union Elementary School District on Monday, and students will have a late start on Tuesday. The Warner Unified School District and Spencer Valley School District also will start classes late on Tuesday because of the weather, the county Office of Education announced.
Through 5 a.m. Monday, the storm dropped 0.79 inches of rain at Miramar, 0.73 inches at Rancho Bernardo, 0.61 inches at Warner Springs, 0.64 inches at Kearny Mesa, 0.56 inches at Montgomery Field, 0.55 inches at Point Loma, 0.50 inches at National City, 0.45 inches at San Diego International Airport, 0.43 inches at San Diego Country Estates, 0.41 inches at Santee, 0.40 inches at Ramona, 0.33 inches at Escondido, 0.31 inches at Alpine, 0.21 inches at Carlsbad, and 0.12 inches at Vista.
The storm was cold enough on Sunday night to produce hail in Rancho Bernardo and lightning in Del Mar and near Borrego Springs.
The weather service expressed concern about the second storm, which will generate winds out of the west-northwest beginning before dawn on Tuesday. Strong gusts will whoosh through coastal cities — 30 mph to 40 mph at the coast and 60 mph to 80 mph in the mountains — possibly damaging trees and shaking commercial jets at San Diego International Airport.
The winds could cause power outages inland. Forecasters say driving will be a challenge on Interstate 8, east of Alpine, especially on Tuesday afternoon. Motorists should watch for icy roads as they descend I-8 near Boulevard, near the border with Imperial County.
The mountains are expected to get 2 inches to 4 inches of snow above 5,000 feet. Lighter snow is expected at the 3,000-foot level.
Cold air will sink to the ground when the winds subside, producing unusually cold temperatures before dawn Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters say the daytime high in San Diego will be 58 on Tuesday, 60 on Wednesday and 64 on Thursday.
Similar temperatures are expected in Chula Vista. Escondido will be 55 on Tuesday, 59 on Wednesday and 63 on Thursday. Julian will be 40 on Tuesday, 42 on Wednesday and 44 on Thursday.
Staff writer Karen Kucher contributed to this report.
9:54 a.m. Feb. 13, 2023: Added information about schools that are closed Monday and districts with planned late starts on Tuesday.
9:54 a.m. Feb. 13, 2023: New rainfall totals added at 6 a.m.