The second of several back-to-back storms expected in the San Diego area over the next several days was expected to bring heavier rain, snow and possibly lightning to the region Friday.
Moisture from the leading edge of the series of low-pressure systems started appearing in the North County about 2 p.m. Thursday. Within a few hours, drizzle was reported as far south as downtown San Diego, according to the National Weather Service.
The rain contributed to 73 crashes between midnight and 9 o'clock this morning on the county's highways and freeways, according to the California Highway Patrol. Five of those crashes were reported between midnight and 2 a.m., eight between 2 and 4 a.m., 24 between 4 and 6 a.m., 25 between 6 and 8 a.m., and 11 between 8 and 9 a.m., the CHP reported.
The agency typically reports between 50 to 75 crashes during a non-rainy 24-hour period.
A second, more frigid atmospheric pattern is expected to arrive this afternoon or evening and likely to generate heavier rain and, possibly, periods of lightning through Saturday, according to the Weather Service.
At the coldest point of today's storm, the snow level may drop as low as 4,500 feet, though it should mostly hover around the 5,000-foot mark, with at least several inches of frozen flakes accumulating in most upper-mountain locales, NWS meteorologist Stefanie Sullivan said.
The system expected today likely will dissipate Sunday. But another system could bring more showers Monday and early Tuesday before fair weather returns to the region, according to forecasters.
As of 7 a.m., more than an inch of rain had fallen in the North County mountains since Thursday afternoon.
The NWS reported that 1.1 inches on the Rincon Indian Reservation, 1.26 inches on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, 1.81 inches on Palomar Mountain and a whopping 2.01 inches on Birch Hill.
Rainfall totals elsewhere in the county as of early Friday include 0.38 inch at Lindbergh Field in downtown San Diego, 0.45 at Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa and 0.59 at Carlsbad Airport, the agency reported.