Friday, Sept. 6—
For the second consecutive day, late-summer thunderstorms buffeted eastern San Diego County with lightning, hail and flood-inducing downpours.
The heat- and humidity-driven squalls began lashing the region’s highlands and desert terrain in the early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Shortly after 1 p.m., a bolt of lightning set brush ablaze off Montezuma Valley Road near Ranchita. A responding fire engine wound up stuck in mud with other vehicles on county Highway S2 as rainfall extinguished the blaze, which had blackened about an acre.
“It was out before we got there,” Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said.
California Highway Patrol closed the washed-out route to traffic until further notice.
The weather service warned that downpours, winds in excess of 60 mph and dangerous lightning strikes were possible into evening in many East County locales, including Campo, Pine Valley, Mount Laguna, Warner Springs, Santa Ysabel, Borrego Springs and other areas along Interstate 8, and state Routes 78 and 79.
The federal agency advised the public to stay indoors during electrical storms and urged motorists to avoid driving over inundated roads and bridges, even if the routes appear to be safe. Most flood-related deaths occur in automobiles, according to the NWS.
—City News Service