A cold winter storm battered the San Diego region Tuesday, hitting the county with heavy rain and pouring snow in the mountain areas.
The storm was active Tuesday morning, bringing with it widespread rain during the morning commute. The subsequent slick roads led to several crashes on San Diego's freeways, with some involving big rigs.
With a Winter Storm Warning continuing until 10 p.m. tonight, 10News Meteorologist Megan Parry's forecast calls for scattered showers into the afternoon commute, with the rain likely to taper off at around 8 p.m.
The California Highway Patrol warned drivers that chains are required on SR-78, mile marker 51 to 64; and SR-79, mile marker 0 to 20. Interstate 8 is open to all traffic as of 9 a.m., the CHP said.
Today's weather also forced the closure of several county roads:
-- In Otay Mesa: La Media Rd. at Airway Rd. closed due to flooding
-- In Alpine: Alpine Blvd., between West Willows to East Willows
-- In Spring Valley: Quarry Rd. closed between SR-125 to Lakeview due to flooding
Due to today's rainfall, the county's Department of Environmental Health issued a "general advisory" for San Diego's coastal waters.
Officials said: "Swimmers, surfers, and other ocean users are warned that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff. Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation. While many coastal storm drains within San Diego County are permanently posted with white metal warning signs, additional temporary warning signs are not posted for General Advisories. Activities such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This includes all coastal beaches and all of Mission Bay and San Diego Bay. Elevated bacteria levels can persist after a rainstorm depending upon the intensity of the storm, volume of runoff and ocean and current conditions."
The Department of Environmental Health also issued a water contact closure for the ocean shoreline at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park due to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States.
Officials said: "The closure area includes the beach-line from the south end of Seacoast Drive to the International Border. Signs will remain in place until sample results indicate the ocean water is safe for recreational use and DEH will continue to monitor water quality at other beaches in the area. Please be advised that the access road to Friendship Park, within Border Field State Park, may also be affected with sewage-impacted runoff and should be avoided."
According to Megan's forecast, colder temperatures are expected this evening into early Wednesday morning.
For the county's mountains, areas such as Julian, Descanso, Pine Valley and Warner Springs are expected to see up to 3 inches of snow. Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain could have snowfall of up to 8 inches. Travelers into the mountain areas are urged to have proper supplies -- such as tire chains, gas, water and food -- and prepare for visibility issues and treacherous road conditions.
Sheriff's officials advised those looking to visit the snow-blanketed areas to "be mindful of areas that are private property which are marked by signs and fences. Private property is off limits to the public for recreational snow activities." Officials also reminded visitors that public restroom facilities are limited.
Sheriff's officials also said: "Parking is limited. Parking violations will be enforced and citations will be issued. Vehicles blocking roadways and private property will be towed. Be aware of increased law enforcement activity to handle the large crowds. Be aware of increased law enforcement activity to handle possible crowds."