Hurricane Kay East County
Winds took out a pepper tree on Gardena Road in Lakeside during Friday’s storms. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

San Diego’s heat wave gave way to storms from Hurricane Kay Friday as the region received an uncharacteristic drenching and even more unlikely high winds.

Hurricane Kay, rising up from Baja California, weakened to a tropical storm late Thursday and shifted northwest over the ocean, but still had enough strength to bring San Diego County a weather spell seldom seen locally.

Rainfall smashed records for Sept. 9, generally a hot time of year, though end-of-summer highs rarely reach the stifling levels of recent days.

More than two inches of rain fell on Lake Cuyamaca, according to the National Weather Service, far outpacing the .37 inch recorded in 1975. Borrego saw 1.45 inches of rain, nearly doubling the .81 inch, also from 1975.

Friday’s other new rainfall records:

  • .61 inch in San Diego, almost seven times more than the .09 recorded in 1976.
  • .39 in Vista, which had no record of rain on Sept. 9 dating back to 1957.
  • .16 in Escondido, five times more than the .03 set in 1972.
  • .32 in Ramona; rainfall of .02 was reported five years ago.
  • .19 in Alpine, slightly surpassing the .15 inch that fell in 1972.

Kay brought high winds as well, though in more remote areas of the county. Coastal areas such as Carlsbad and Imperial Beach saw gusts in the 30-mph range.

Inland, it was a different story. The top velocities recorded Friday, according to the NWS, include:

  • 109 mph, Cuyamaca Peak, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
  • 96 mph, Black Mountain, in the Cleveland National Forest, north of Ramona.
  • 93 mph, Laguna Launch in the Laguna Mountains.
  • 91 mph, Sill Hill, near Cuyamaca Peak.
  • 81 mph, Otay Mountain.
  • 80 mph, Mount Laguna Observatory and Hauser Mountain, north of Campo Road.

In addition, Oceanside Harbor tied the record high temperature of 90 from 1984.

Despite the rain from Tropical Storm Kay, people walk La Jolla Shores. Photo by Chris Stone

There’s potential for more storms this weekend, forecasters predicted, saying “areas of heavy rain could cause flooding problems through Saturday, as deep tropical moisture lingers across our area.”

A flood watch will be in place through Saturday evening in San Diego County mountains, deserts and valleys. Other flood watches ended Friday evening.

The storm led to a series of traffic mishaps and other problems throughout the county, according to OnScene.TV, including a four-car crash in Lincoln Park, a flipped SUV on a Mountain View freeway transition and fallen trees in Lakeside.

– City News Service contributed to this report



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Ellen Bullock