Region braces for series of winter storms

   A series of winter storms is hitting San Diego County this week, with heavy rainfall expected, especially in the foothills and mountains. The first round came Monday, with the second arriving Tuesday, when the Sentinel went to press.

   Strong winds and rain on Tuesday afternoon left portions of Ramona without power. According to SDG&E, an estimated 70,000 county customers were without power due to downed power lines and underground cables getting wet.

   Rains on Monday did not douse Ramona as much as anticipated, but heavier rains were forecast for the rest of the week. According to the National Weather Service, Ramona Airport received 1.15 inches of rain from 4 a.m. on Monday to 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

   Ramona area residents concerned about forecasts ranging from 8 to 20 inches of rain responded to the county’s offer of free sand and bags last Friday. CalFire’s Mount Woodson Station ran out of sand and bags on Saturday, but more arrived on Monday and another delivery was expected Tuesday. Firefighters at the station ask residents needing sand to bring shovels, because the sand is not in the bags.

   Sand and bags also were at San Diego  Country Estates at San Vicente and Ramona Oaks roads.

   With intense rainfall forecast over several days, the county warned residents of a strong possibility of stream flooding with road closures and mud and debris flows, especially in areas impacted by wildfires.

   “I urge county residents to be prepared,” said Pam Slater-Price, chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors. “Water can do a lot of damage to your home and property. We need the rain, but we don’t need it in our living rooms.”

   Before the storms, county public works crews checked storm channels and culverts, inspected stream monitoring systems, and prepared snow plows and other equipment last week. The department also rehabilitated several large storm drains that pass under roads or other structures.

   In addition to storms on Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported that more storms over the Pacific will affect the area this week. A third storm was expected to arrive late Wednesday afternoon, and heavy rain was also forecast for Thursday, with showers forecast for Friday, and a chance of showers on Saturday.

   Residents are encouraged to prevent erosion and damage on their own properties by getting free sand and bags available at the following fire stations in unincorporated areas of the county:

   • CalFire, Mount Woodson Station, 16310 Highway 67, Ramona.

   • 1587 Highway 78, Julian.

   • 28205 North Lake Wohlford Road, Valley Center.

   • 16971 Highway 76, Valley Center.

   • 1364 Tavern Road, Alpine.

   • North County Fire Protection, Station Four, 4375 Pala Mesa Drive, Fallbrook.

   • Dulzura Fire Station, 17304 Highway 94, Dulzura.

   For additional storm information and road closure notices, visit the County Department of Public Works emergency Web site page at sdcounty.ca.gov/dpw/emergency.html or get updates at Twitter.com/sdcountydpw.

   
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