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Friday, May 24, 2024

San Diego faces record rainfall and flooding

The impact of the storm was not limited to San Diego, as neighboring Tijuana and northern Baja California experienced severe flooding.

San Diego found itself under the unexpected assault of a powerful Pacific front on Monday, marking the culmination of a rare trilogy of storms that battered the West Coast since Friday. Despite the anticipation of rain, the city was caught off guard by the intensity of the third storm, declared by the National Weather Service (NWS) as “the wettest January day on record in San Diego.”

Tijuana and Northern Baja California in Distress

The impact of the storm was not limited to San Diego, as neighboring Tijuana and northern Baja California experienced severe flooding. The dire situation prompted the heroic efforts of United States Customs and Border Protection agents and San Diego Fire Department rescuers, who managed to save at least eight migrants, according to NBC News.

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Navy Base San Diego Faces Unprecedented Flooding

The intensity of the precipitation cell caused Navy Base San Diego to face late-morning flooding, paralyzing multiple streets and leading to the closure of Interstate 15, a critical route to Las Vegas. The unforeseen consequences of the storm highlighted the vulnerability of even well-prepared military installations to the forces of nature.

Mayor Declares State of Emergency

Responding to the crisis, Mayor Todd Gloria declared a state of emergency due to extreme rainfall and flash flooding. Urging residents and visitors to stay off the roads, Gloria emphasized the severity of the situation. As a precautionary measure, schools in La Mesa and Spring Valley were announced to be closed on Tuesday.

Unusual Weather Dynamics

The meteorological factors behind this extraordinary storm were explained by NWS meteorologist Brandt Maxwell. The storm, spinning counterclockwise at the coast, was powered by a combination of a long-tail jet stream, a strong atmospheric river, unstable air, and varying temperatures. Maxwell noted the absence of strong winds as the only missing element in this unusual weather equation.

Mixed Blessings for San Diego’s Rainfall

Despite being below normal for the season, San Diego’s rainfall received a significant boost from this single storm, surpassing the average annual total. With half the rainy season still ahead and an average annual rainfall of nearly 10 inches, this unexpected deluge may have brought some relief to the region’s water reservoirs.

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Maxwell speculated on the weather outlook for Southern California, suggesting that, at least in the short term, there doesn’t seem to be another significant storm on the horizon. As the city navigates through the remaining months of the rainy season, the rarity of such intense precipitation beyond March was emphasized, making this recent storm a noteworthy event.