Wettest January day on record in San Diego brings widespread flooding

US News

More than a month’s worth of rainfall in a few hours has caused widespread flooding in San Diego, California.

Monday was the wettest January day on record in the city, the National Weather Service said.

Two to 3ins of rain fell in three hours, it said, having earlier warned motorists not to travel.

During the winter, the region typically averages around 2ins of rain per month.

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A car sits partially submerged on a flooded road during a rain storm  
Pic: AP
Image:
A car sits partially submerged on a flooded road in San Diego. Pic: AP

San Diego mayor Todd Gloria declared a state of emergency and the city set up shelters to house displaced residents after floodwaters swamped homes and swept away vehicles, causing cars to pile up on top of each other.

Several feet of water inundated the Mountain View, Shelltown and Southcrest neighbourhoods, and several major roads including Interstate 15.

More on San Diego

A woman walks by cars damaged by floods during a rainstorm in San Diego
Pic: AP
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Vehicles lay on top of one another after the rainstorm. Pic: AP

People were pulled to safety from their homes by police officers in some areas, including Spring Valley and Casa de Oro.

Others escaped wading through waist-high water.

Schools in La Mesa and Spring Valley said they would be shut on Tuesday, Sky’s US partner NBC News reported.

Damage is shown after a heavy rain storm causes a small river to overflow into a neighborhood in San Diego, California
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The torrential rainfall caused rivers to overflow

The city fire department said it had rescued at least 24 people from the rushing San Diego and Tijuana rivers.

Footage posted on social media showed cars being swept away by fast-moving floodwaters, on roads turned into rivers.

A woman removes debris from floods during a rain storm 
Pic: AP
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Residents were warned of possible mud or debris flow. Pic: AP

Eddie Ochoa, a resident of San Diego, said there was just a sprinkling of rainfall when he and his sister went out for breakfast on Monday morning.

But when they returned an hour later to their family-owned car body shop, they found the entire street was flooded and his sister’s car had been washed away.

They later found it about three miles away.

Damage is shown after a heavy rain storm causes a small river to overflow into a neighborhood in San Diego, California
Image:
The flooding was widespread

The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management issued an evacuation warning near Topanga Canyon – effective until Tuesday morning – due to possible mud or debris flow.

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