San Diego will be hit by the tail of the massive storm that’s charging into central and northern California with rain and snow, says the National Weather Service.
“The rain in San Diego will begin before dawn on Friday,” said Brandt Maxwell, a weather service forecaster. “We think it will drop about one inch of rain at the coast, and about two inches across the inland valleys and foothills.”
The storm coincides with a major ocean swell that’s already producing 7-foot to 8-foot waves in some areas of San Diego County. Forecasters say the waves could reach 12-feet to 14-feet at certain breaks on Friday and Saturday.
California is benefitting from the “pineapple express,” a huge plume of moisture flowing into the state from the sub-tropics. Forecasters also call it an atmospheric river. In the past, the express has cut through Southern California. But this system is concentrated farther north. Up to 10 inches of rain could fall in some parts of northern and central California, and a blizzard will hit the Sierra Nevada.
“That’s going to help with the drought,” Maxwell said.
And there’s more on the way. The weather service says a moderate storm will likely push ashore in San Diego next Tuesday and last until Wednesday.
As for the incoming system — A flash flood watch will be in effect from late Thursday night until Friday night. Forecasters are citing special concern about the Cocos wildfire area. In May, a blaze erupted south of California State University San Marcos and spread into western Escondido, charring thousands of acres and destroying more than 40 buildings.
San Diego received more than a month’s worth of rain on Dec. 3 and 4, which helped tamp down the wildfire threat. But the region is still trying to recover from three consecutive years of below average rainfall.
SPECIAL NOTE: Legendary Scripps oceanographer Walter Munk will give a lecture about the tides at 4 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Spiess Hall 330, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.