Virus aside; the earth quakes, rain on the way

A late season storm is heading for San Diego County/NOAA

Sick of the coronavirus, this may take one’s mind off it: Anza had a 4.9 earthquake that shook San Diego County and rain is on the way this week.

Good times.

Looking backwards a bit, as the county recorded its 17th coronavirus death on Friday, April 3 — an 18th person died Saturday — the earth shook in a different way. A magnitude 4.9 earthquake was reported Friday night about 23 miles south of Palm Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey..

The earthquake at 6:53 p.m. occurred 11 miles southeast of Anza, 18 miles southwest of Palm Desert, 18 miles northwest of Borrego Springs, 23 miles southwest of Indio and 36 miles east of Temecula.

The epicenter was in a remote mountainous area, where strong shaking was recorded. But the closest cities in the Coachella Valley encountered only light shaking, which can rattle dishes and windows but does not cause damage.

According to the USGS, the quake was felt across a wide area of San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties, with people as far as Los Angeles also reporting that they felt it. It was followed by several aftershocks in the same area — a magnitude 3.7 quake at 7:05 p.m., a 3.2 at 7:59 p.m., a 3.6 at 9:07 p.m. and a 3.5 at 10:12 p.m.

San Diegans from East Village to Mira Mesa reported shaking, as did residents in Oceanside, Poway, Santee and Ramona. The quake even rattled the NBC 7 studio in Kearny Mesa.

A Tijuana resident reported feeling the rumble, as did some in Temecula and Palm Springs

An average of 25 earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.0 and 5.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 6.6 miles

Then the rains came

Cool weather was forecast across the county Saturday as a storm system coming from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to bring some rain and cold temperatures starting Sunday, the National Weather Service in San Diego said.

“It will be a bit cooler than average today and an increase in clouds into Monday,” forecasters said, “as the marine layer deepens and a storm system approaches from the northwest.”

Some rain could break out on Sunday, but the best chance for heavy rain and high mountain snow will come on Monday and Tuesday, the NWS said.

“Periods of rain and snow showers will continue through midweek before this slow-moving storm exits the region,” forecasters said. “Temperatures will be well below average until next weekend, when high pressure builds from the west.”

San Diego’s coastal cities could receive 1.6 inches of rain during that period, while the valleys get 2 inches and the mountains get up to 3 inches.

It’s also possible that 1 to 3 inches of rain will fall above the 5,500-foot level in the local mountains, forecasters say.

The heaviest rain is expected to fall on Monday afternoon and evening, and street flooding is possible across the entire county.

“Late season storms like this aren’t that common,” said Casey Oswant, a weather service forecaster. “These will bring beneficial rains that will push our yearly rainfall total close to, or maybe even above, average.”

Overall this system is good news for California’s water resources, according to The Weather Channel.

California’s snowpack is only roughly half of normal for early April. If this snowpack is not replenished before the wet season ends, reservoirs will lower and less water will be available for California’s cities later in the year.

California is in a moderate drought after a drier than average fall and winter.

The recent wet pattern is good news for fire weather concerns going into the dry season in California, so more precipitation is a welcome sight.

Since the rainy season began on Oct. 1, San Diego International Airport has recorded 9.76 inches of precipitation, which is 0.51 inches above average. San Diego’s total annual rainfall averages 10.34 inches. The rainy season ends on Sept. 30.

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