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Resolving to Stay Dry Tonight : Storms Delayed; Will Arrive After New Year’s Day

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The latest storms that were expected to hit San Diego County today have shifted and are now forecast to bring wind and rain Thursday, leaving the county’s roadways dry for New Year’s Eve travelers.

Weekend storms that put a damper on post-holiday shopping at uncovered malls brought .92 inches of much-needed rain, raising the season’s total to 2.97 inches, National Weather Service meteorologist Gordon Hepburn said.

Last year at this time, San Diego had received 1.25 inches. Normal rainfall this time of year is 3.04 inches.

Fair and warm weather with highs in the 70s is expected today. Temperatures tonight will be in the 40s to 50s along the coast, with inland valleys experiencing temperatures below freezing, Hepburn said.

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On New Year’s Day, increasing clouds, with countywide temperatures ranging from 65 to 72, are expected.

The Gulf of Alaska, the origin of last weekend’s wet and blustery weather, will send another series of storms to Southern California on Thursday, with rain on and off through the weekend, Hepburn said. Snow is expected in the mountains above 5,000 feet.

Despite the welcome rain, water agency officials say it is not nearly enough to relieve the drought.

Lake Oroville, 50 miles north of Sacramento, supplies San Diego with much of its water and is now 54% full, said Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District spokesman Bob Gomperz.

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The lake’s capacity is 2,364,000 acre feet. Each acre foot contains 326,000 gallons, or enough water to supply two families for one year.

“While we’re pleased about the storms, it’s not yet time to say it’s the end of the drought,” Gomperz said. “We need several storms in a series in the next several months to get back to normal. It’s been five years. We have a lot of catching up to do.”

In San Diego, water authority spokesman Jim Melton warned residents not to become complacent and forget about conserving.

“Its a good start, but we have a long way to go,” Melton said. “People shouldn’t be out watering their lawns. Believe it or not, some people still have their automatic sprinkler systems on.”

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On Monday, San Diego hit 63 degrees at Lindbergh Field. Temperatures around the county ranged from 39 to 62 in El Cajon, 50 to 67 in National City, 46 to 64 in Vista, 45 to 67 in Borrego Springs and 44 to 63 in Fallbrook. The light snow that fell in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park melted Monday after a warm rain that totaled 1.05 inches.


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