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Public Works

Record Amount of Rain Causes Widespread Flooding in City of San Diego

SDFD rescue in flooding

During an intense rain storm on Monday, Jan. 22, the City of San Diego experienced widespread flooding throughout the city. Hundreds of people were rescued from their homes and flooded areas in the communities of Mountain View and Southcrest. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department swift water rescue team also responded to multiple locations along the San Diego River, in low-lying areas near the coast, and the Tijuana River Valley.

On Monday, the Red Cross opened an overnight emergency shelter at Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Ave., for residents impacted by flooding and storm damage. Mayor Todd Gloria declared a local emergency in response to the storm.

The National Weather Service reported that Jan. 22 was the fourth wettest day on record in San Diego history, with 2.72 inches of rain recorded at the San Diego International Airport. Prior to the storm, City crews were deployed clearing storm drains, monitoring pump stations and doing other prep work to help reduce the risk of flooding. However, many of the City's stormwater pump stations reached capacity during the rain event, with substantial flooding causes power outages at the pump station servicing the Sports Arena/Midway district.

According to the City's Stormwater Department, widespread flooding that occurred across the city is what happens when heavy rainfall overwhelms an aging stormwater system with limited capacity. Monday’s record rainfall revealed the fragile state of the City's stormwater infrastructure and the need for significant investments going forward to prevent the current situation from becoming the new normal for San Diego. Prior to the storm, the City had several hundred employees out in the field clearing storm drains and doing other prep work to help reduce flood risk citywide.

Due to flooding, the City had to evacuate two homeless shelter locations: the City’s 16th & Newton Bridge Shelter and the 20th & B Safe Sleeping site. A temporary emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness was set up at the Balboa Park Activity Center, with individuals from the Safe Sleeping site also being temporarily moved to Golden Hall in the City's Civic Center.

Other closures impacting City facilities include the San Diego Central Library, which was closed on Monday, Jan. 22, due to flooding in the underground parking garage.

For ongoing updates on storm impacts, visit the City's storm emergency webpage.