Scattered storms, lightning hit Southern California and prompt beach closures
Updated March 18, 4:56 p.m. ET: After a series of storms scattered from the southern Mexican border through San Diego on Wednesday night to southern California, the National Weather Service today said the biggest storm may have hit the region Tuesday night. A lightning strike on a utility pole in Fullerton brought down the electric-fixture box and the utility’s warning system stopped working.
The city of Oceanside closed its beaches Thursday in preparation for a severe storm that could bring up to 15 inches of rain to the area.
The National Weather Service said the storm, which brought damaging winds and large, isolated showers to the region that passed through from the southern Mexican border, is expected to bring isolated storms of up to 6 inches to Southern California on Friday.
By Saturday, the NWS said storms will be over the area for several days with most likely just three to five inches in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
The agency said winds will likely be 30 to 40 mph at higher elevations, rising to 40 to 50 mph in the valley and as high as 58 mph in the lower mountain areas.
At the same time, “the risk for severe thunderstorms is still very elevated,” the official said, adding that the storms could produce up to 2 inches of rain over the region.
The storms caused a number of roads to be blocked, including the major highways between San Diego and Los Angeles.
In Oceanside, the city closed all of its beaches, except one, after a gust of wind swept over the beach and drove the surfers inland.
A beach closure for the day on San Clemente island was lifted this afternoon with some people having camped out on roadsides and sidewalks, while others headed there as early as Thursday to drive and park their boats.
A beach closure for Bolsa Chica was lifted this afternoon with some people having camped out on the sand and one woman was seen by news helicopters driving up the beach with her dog.
The city of Carlsbad closed its beaches Thursday afternoon.
The city of Carlsbad said two of its beaches, Bolsa Chica and Ocean Beach, will be closed for the time being in what it called a “severe storm.”