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Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Through Out San Diego


The second of three winter storms wreaked havoc Saturday through San Diego County, causing flooding, downed trees and power outages.

In Del Mar, there were reports of a bluff collapse on the train tracks. Train passengers were ferried between the Solana Beach and Sorrento Valley stations while train services were stopped. A track inspector said it was ice plants falling into the ocean and not the bluff collapsing.

On the main street in Del Mar, there was flooding. A crew from the swift water rescue told NBC 7 it was on standby in case anyone got stuck in the water.

In Ramona, people living on Sawday Street and other dirt roads were bracing for the roads to get slippery, slick and muddy.

“They can be pretty tough getting in and out,” Nick Williams of Ramona said. “Cars get stuck a bunch, luckily we have four-wheel drive. We’ve pulled a few folks out who get stuck.”

One Ramona resident told NBC 7, residents in the area have a poll to see how many get stuck on that road every year.

The dirt roads there are a subject of some controversy. Some want it paved, others — mostly horse owners — do not.

In Imperial Beach, the flooding destroyed several cars. Christina Vink said the water rose past the wheels of the car.

She said her car is totaled. Vink said it’s been a problem on Iris Avenue, where her car was parked. She, along with her neighbors, said they don’t understand why the city doesn’t get it fixed.

“If it’s going to be 100 percent chance of rain, there is a 100 percent chance of flooding here on Iris Avenue,” Vink said.

A BMW parked on the street had to be towed. Felice Baxter moved her Mercedes Benz but didn’t do it in time.

“Underwater,” she said. “There’s water in the glove box. It’s a claim but it shouldn’t be a big surprise. When it rains, it floods here.”

Residents there just want the city to fix whatever it was that’s causing the flooding fixed.

In Balboa Park, a large tree hit five cars as it came crashing down during high winds. It happened in the parking lot near the carousel. Park rangers and city crews quickly reopened access and cleared away the damage.

In El Cajon, a huge tree was ripped from its roots around 3:30 p.m. in the Fletcher Hills area. The tree blocked a part of Fletcher Parkway near Cuyamaca Street. Firefighters responded but there were no reports of injuries.

The strong winds and rain also caused problems in Mission Valley. The area, which is on a flood plain, floods every time there is a significant storm.

Several businesses there lost powers because of the heavy and winds. The winds also knocked out power to street lights, making it dangerous for people walking and driving in the area.

Workers at restaurants — such as the Corner Bakery, Chipotle and the Kabob Shop — that lost power had to get the customers when the power went out, many of the customers were still eating their meals.

After the power came back on, those restaurants are closed for the night because they sent all their employees home. Because the outage was so abrupt, it short-circuited the computers so they couldn’t serve customers even if the workers stayed.

In the North County, rough 1500 people were without power for several hours. the power returned around 6:30 p.m. and San Diego Gas and Electric has not identified the cause in those outages but did not rule the possibility of them being rain-related.

In Bonita, mudslides were reported Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol. Mudslides hit Sweetwater Road at around 6:49 a.m., and nearly an hour later, a boulder tumbled onto the road. Crews have blocked off the impacted section of the road.

In the South Bay, a couple and their two dogs need rescue after trying to cross a flooded Hollister Road in the Tijuana River Valley.

Their car was stuck in the floodwaters. San Diego City Lifeguards Swift Water Rescue Team was called out to rescue the couple. Lifeguards were warning people to avoid flooded streets.

“What we say to people is to turn around and don’t drown,” Sgt. Rob Eichelberger said. “So if you see a “Road Closed” sign, if you see water, turn around and try to find another way and keep everyone safe.”

At least eight or nine swift water rescue teams were fanned out through the county. Lifeguards say they are keeping a close eye in areas such as Mission Valley and the Tijuana River Valley because people will sometimes drive through the flooded street and get stuck.

The swift water rescue teams have responded to a handful of calls across San Diego. In Mission Valley, the San Diego River is expected to swell up to about 11 feet Saturday night.

The rescue team will remain posted throughout the night.

The high winds Saturday forced the closure of the San Diego Lunar New Year Festival in Mission Valley. Saturday was supposed to be the second day of the event but the winds tore off banners, destroyed canopies and made it dangerous to operate the rides.

“Last night was a great turnout, a lot of the people,” festival director Su Nguyen said. “Today, also a lot of people want to get in, but for security reasons, we don’t want people to get in and get hurt.”

Organizers plan to reopen Sunday.


Source: NBC San Diego

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