‘Torrential rainfall’ floods San Diego, portions of I-5 covered in water

On Monday morning and afternoon, a severe rainstorm created flash floods that swamped roads and flooded homes throughout San Diego County. With rain continuing to fall over the region in the late afternoon, San Diego was on course to receive about a third of its annual rainfall in one day.

“Today’s heavy rainfall has flooded roads, including Interstate 5 in downtown San Diego,” the National Weather Service tweeted shortly before 2:30 p.m. “Areas of showers and storms will continue at times through this evening across our warning area.”

The weather service released a video from a user on X, formerly Twitter, showing a lake of water covering a stretch of Interstate 5.

The San Diego River, a major watercourse in the county, surpassed flood stage Monday afternoon. According to the California Nevada River Forecast Center, the river is predicted to peak at 12.4 feet at the Fashion Valley gauge on Monday at 7 p.m., more than 2 feet over flood level.

Caltrans reported closures of key roadways throughout the county, including portions of northbound state Route 15 south of Oceanview. A stretch of Interstate 5 was closed and then reopened.

Several roads in San Diego County have been closed due to flooding, including Plaza Bonita Road between Bonita Road and Bonita Mesa Road in Bonita and Via Viejas Road between Calle de Pescadores and Palo Danzante in Alpine. (Get the most recent updates from the county’s Public Works Department social media accounts.)

San Diego saw floods as a moisture-rich storm swept across the area on Monday. According to Adam Roser, a weather service meteorologist, a weather gauge at San Diego International Airport reported 2.71 inches of rain in the last 24 hours, with rainfall rates reaching 0.75 inches per hour.

“That’s pretty high for this area,” Roser told SFGATE at 3:30 p.m. “We’ve seen some other areas in the San Diego metro area close to even 3 inches, even 4 inches,” Roser went on to say. “Some areas to the north, like the Carlsbad and Oceanview areas, have seen 2 to 3 inches.”

While 3 to 4 inches may not seem like much rain to someone living in the rainy Pacific Northwest or Northern California, Roser said it is a lot of rain for San Diego, which receives an average of 9.7 inches of rain per year.

'Torrential rainfall' floods San Diego, portions of I-5 covered in water

“The ground doesn’t absorb water as easily here,” Roser went on to say. “We don’t typically get this much rain. The majority of that rain fell in six hours. It’s obviously a more arid Mediterranean climate.”


Roser said that flooding had occurred in San Diego’s Encanto neighborhood. The weather service published a video on social media showing floodwaters sweeping away cars.

Deputies assisted homeowners whose houses were flooded in the Spring Valley and Casa de Oro communities, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Zee Sanchez.

“Flooding is pretty widespread out there,” Sanchez added. Vehicles became stranded on flooded highways, and the agency assisted with a swift-water rescue near Santee, he said. There were no injuries recorded.

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