Brief Respite Expected Before Wet, Chilly Weather Returns

Times Staff Writer

Temperatures in mountain areas of San Diego County plunged below freezing Wednesday night, but National Weather Service forecasters predicted a dry, warming trend to bring a few days' respite before the next storm arrives.

Forecaster Wilbur Shigehara said the mercury was expected to drop into the low teens on Mt. Laguna, where the high reading reached only 40 Wednesday. Shigehara said 11 inches of snow remained on the ground at Mt. Laguna. Twelve inches of snow covered Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and two inches remained at Julian.

A frosty chill also settled over inland valleys. At Valley Center the temperature was expected to drop to 27 Wednesday night. At Escondido the expected low was 29 and for Fallbrook it was 30.

Shigehara said the warming trend should end the threat to crops that came with the Wednesday-night frost warning. "It should warm up some Thursday night, and that trend will continue through Saturday."

Flood waters from the heavy rain that began Monday morning were receding Wednesday and roads that had been closed were reopened. Only Stadium Way and Fashion Valley Road in flood-prone Mission Valley remained closed, San Diego police reported, but both were expected to be reopened by tonight.

The storm dropped a total 1.84 inches of rain at Lindbergh Field, the official reporting site for the National Weather Service, bringing the season's total since July 1 to 2.33 inches.

Shigehara said the warming trend should raise temperatures into the mid-60s in the San Diego area today, with low readings in the mid-50s. The low at Lindbergh Field on Wednesday was 49.

Forecasters said county residents should enjoy the dry weather while they can because another large storm building over the Gulf of Alaska could bring more heavy rain to the county by Sunday.

In Riverside County, three San Diegans and a Diamond Bar man, backpacking at the 8,000-foot level in San Jacinto State Park when the storm began, were found to be safe. Riverside County sheriff's deputies said Paul Luce, 23, of Diamond Bar, and Valentine Wick, 23, Jeri Wick, 22, and Emma Frey, 23, all of San Diego, were airlifted to safety.

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