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Major Winter Storm Hits San Diego County

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A major winter storm is rolling across the area, described as a cold hurricane judging from the satellite images. It is expected to produce heavy rains, gale force winds, snow in the high elevations and poses the possibility of mud and debris flows, especially on south-facing hills. 

Once again the County of San Diego is making free sand and bags available to residents in the unincorporated areas. Residents just need to bring their own shovel.

Locations are:

• Cal Fire Station 73: 28205 North Lake Wohlford Road, Valley Center
• Pauma Valley-Rincon, Cal Fire Station 70: 16971 Highway 76, Valley Center
• Cal Fire Station 50: 1587 Highway 78, Julian
• Alpine Fire Protection District, Station 17: 1364 Tavern Road, Alpine (Bags ONLY)
• Ramona Station: 3410 Dye Road, Ramona, CA
• North County Fire Protection District, Station 4: 4375 Pala Mesa Drive, Fallbrook
• Cal Fire Station 30: 17304 Highway 94, Dulzura
• Bonita/Sunnyside Fire Department: 4900 Bonita Road, Bonita

Department of Public Works (DPW) crews are already on storm patrol, working 12-hour shifts around the clock. So be sure to watch out for crews and equipment, and slow down.

If driving in the mountains, wait for the storms to pass before going up to enjoy the snow as DPW crews will likely be plowing roadways around the clock. Don’t park on the highway and don’t allow children, or yourself, to sled down the hill and across the roadway. You never know when a snowplow will be coming around the curve.

Sandia Creek FloodedIn the county there are several areas that are prone to roadway flooding. The three most frequent are the dips at Quarry Road, Sandia Creek in the north county, and County Club in Harmony Grove. Gates at Quarry Road Dip drop down automatically when activated by sensors in the stream. DPW crews will post road closures at Country Club, Sandia Creek and any other areas where unsafe driving conditions exist. You can monitor the status of the dips by webcam.

Never cross a flooded roadway if you cannot see the pavement. Even a few inches of water running at the right velocity can sweep a car, and even a truck, and its occupants off the roadway and downstream. You don’t want a swift-water rescue as part of your weekend activities.

During and immediately after heavy rainfall, do not go near storm channels, creeks or streams.

It’s always a good idea to carry chains if planning a trip to the mountains. Chain controls, road condition updates, and other safety advisories are posted on the DPW social media pages: Facebook.com/SDCountyDPW and Twitter.com/SDCountyDPW. During severe weather events, the DPW Emergency page is activated with the latest information. http://sdcdpw.org/emergency.

Storm updates, road conditions and other safety advisories are constantly updated on the DPW Emergency page. Road conditions are posted on our social media pages by crews working the roadways so the sites will have the latest information. However, because the crews are focused on driving the plows, they cannot answer questions on the pages about specific roads, and drivers should be aware conditions can change rapidly.

We expect clearing by late Sunday, so in the meantime if you must venture out be sure to slow down and watch out for DPW crews and equipment working round the clock to keep our roads safe and passable. As the old sarge on Hill Street used to say, "Let's be careful out there!"