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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, Ramona break August rainfall records in Hilary storm deluge

Rain. (Pete Nowicki, Unsplash)

North San Diego County communities saw significant amounts of rain as historic Tropical Storm Hilary moved across the region Saturday and Sunday.

With a few exceptions, North County saw rainfall amounts of at least 2 inches, according to National Weather Service statistics. Hilary, which the center passed through eastern San Diego County on Aug. 20, was the first tropical storm to hit the region since 1939.

The storm set records for the wettest August day in some communities, superseding records set on Aug. 17, 1977, when post-hurricane Doreen dropped large amounts of rain on the county, according to the Weather Service.

Oceanside Harbor, Vista, Escondido and Ramona all broke records over the weekend. San Diego International Airport, the Weather Service’s official recording station for the regional total, just cracked the record for the month, 1.82 inches on Aug. 20 compared with 1.80 on Aug. 17, 1977.

Along coastal North County, recording stations logged preliminary storm rainfall totals of:

San Marcos (landfill) — 2.66 inches
Carlsbad — 2.50 inches
Carlsbad (McClellan-Palomar Airport) — 2.47 inches
Oceanside — 2.20 inches (previous record: 2.20)
Encinitas — 2.14 inches
Vista — 2.12 inches (previous record: 1.45)
San Onofre — 1.94 inches

Inland North County communities:

Lake Wohlford — 3.52 inches
Fallbrook — 3.08 inches
Mt. Woodson — 2.92 inches
Valley Center remote station — 2.79 inches
Escondido — 2.68 inches (previous record: 1.80)
Deer Springs — 2.59 inches
Fallbrook remote station — 2.58 inches
Bonsall — 2.14 inches
Poway — 2.09 inches
Ramona Airport — 2.03 inches
Ramona — 1.94 inches (previous record: 1.53)
Valley Center (Cole Grade Road) 1.90 inches
Rincon Springs — 1.72 inches
Valley Center — 1.62 inches

In addition to the official preliminary reports from the National Weather Service’s San Diego office, unofficial reports from the unaffiliated Local Conditions weather website reported about .65 inches for Solana Beach, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe.

Although there was localized flooding, high winds reaching 84 mph in the mountains, 78 mph inland and 52 mph on the coast, and some power outages, according to local municipalities and utilities, officials said advanced preparations helped the region weather the storm. The Red Cross opened an overnight shelter at Corky Smith Gymnasium in San Marcos.

San Diego County’s mountains saw the heaviest rainfall, with Ranchita stations reporting 7.38 and 5.05 inches, Mt. Laguna 7.11 inches, Palomar Observatory and Palomar Mountain 6.80 and 5.91 inches respectively, and Lake Cuyamaca 4.40 inches.

The storm’s historic magnitude led Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a State of Emergency in California.

“We should never underestimate the power of Mother Nature,” he said in an announcement. “California is coordinating with federal and local governments to support communities as they prepare for this unprecedented storm. Heed warnings from local authorities, be ready and stay informed.”

Historically, another storm of similar significance — in the form of the remnants of Hurricane Norman — brought heavy rain, wind and flooding to San Diego County in early September 1978. In early September 2022, Hurricane Kay caused rain and wind in San Diego County as a post-tropical cyclone that remained off the coast as it dissipated.