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Wayward Storm Brings Unexpected Downpour

December 20, 1987|TINA CRAVAT | Times Staff Writer

Just when San Diego County residents thought it was safe to stow their rain gear and pack a picnic basket, a wayward storm that slipped past forecasters' screens pounced on the region Saturday, tormenting holiday shoppers with sporadic downpours.

But , county residents will get a chance to dry out today, as forecasters promise clear, sunny skies and slightly higher temperatures.

"We've seen a lot of this lately," National Weather Service forecaster Wilbur Shigehara said. "The past few storms that have caught us by surprise this month appeared very weak. This is not the type of storm we can follow."

Saturday's downpour, which dumped .17 inch of rain by 4 p.m. at Lindbergh Field, was the result of some high level winds that, at the last minute, decided to give the storm a southerly shove, Shigehara said.

"This storm was moving toward Arizona from Oregon and Washington and once it got there, the winds changed directions," he said.

Though heavy rainfall kept drivers alert, especially along Interstate 5 in La Jolla on Saturday, San Diego police and the California Highway Patrol reported only minor fender-benders.

No major flooding or road closures were reported, and San Diego Gas & Electric said there were no major weather-related outages.

"This was just a minor storm, accompanied by some gusts of wind, but nothing of significance," Shigehara said.

Today's clearing trend will last through next week, when a weak Santa Ana condition moves in.

"We may get some gusty winds up to 25 m.p.h. in the mountain, desert and inland areas" below mountain passes, he said.

Another storm is expected to breeze past with no rain Tuesday or Wednesday, Shigehara said. But forecasters are looking over their shoulders after making predictions these days.

"These winds are tricky," Shigehara said. "It looks like it will miss us, but we're keeping a close eye on it, (and) we can't be sure at this point."

San Diegans will still have to bundle up, as overnight low temperatures should drop to about 29 to 30 degrees in the inland valleys over the next few days.

"We may see some light frost in the inland valley areas tonight and Monday, although we haven't issued a frost advisory for farmers," Shigehara said. "Temperatures are not expected to get down to dangerous levels."

Coastal highs today will be from 60 to 72 degrees with lows in the 40- to 48-degree range today and Monday, according to forecaster Dan Bowman of WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times.

High tide will rise to 7.4 feet today at 8:09 but is not expected to pose a threat to coastal structures. The ocean temperature will be about 56 degrees, with surf 3 to 4 feet.

Highs in the inland valleys will climb to the mid-70s, with lows from 30 to 42 today and Monday.

Mountains received light snowfall Saturday, but the snow level is still at 4,500 feet. Highs today will range from the upper 30s to mid-50s, with lows in the low 20s today and Monday.

Desert highs will be from 60 to 72, with lows from 34 to 42 both days.

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