The first in a pair of Pacific storms brought rain and gusty winds to San Diego County early Wednesday, wreaking havoc on the morning commute.
Between 6 and 9 a.m., the California Highway Patrol received reports of 50 crashes on the county's highways and freeways. The busiest hour for crashes during the morning commute was 6 o'clock, with 21 crashes reported in the 60- minute span, according to the agency, which does not keep tallies on accidents on city streets.
The CHP typically receives between 50 and 75 crash reports a day in fair weather conditions. Most of this morning's crashes were non-injury.
In addition to the 50 crash reports received during morning rush hour, six crashes occurred between midnight and 6 a.m., authorities said.
Rainfall totals from the first storm, which is expected to last into this afternoon, will likely range from a third of an inch near the coast to one to two inches in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.
The agency issued wind advisories for the mountains and deserts until 9 tonight and 3 a.m. Friday, respectively. During the advisory periods, 20- to 30- mile per hour west winds, gusting up to 50 mph, are likely, according to the Weather Service.
In addition to the mountain and desert wind advisories, a small craft advisory is in effect, prompted by gusty winds over coastal waters. It is set to expire at 9 a.m.
"Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in these conditions," said an NWS advisory.
Another period of strong west winds is expected later this week. The Weather Service forecast that a second, somewhat stronger storm will likely arrive late Thursday or early Friday, lasting into Saturday.
The most significant precipitation will occur on Friday, the agency advised, noting total rainfall from the second storm will range from a quarter to a half-inch near the coast to one to two inches in the mountains.
Local snow levels will lower to 4,000 to 4,500 feet Friday, with four to eight inches of snowfall possible, mainly above 5,000 feet, according to the Weather Service.
-- City News Service