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Monsoonal weather conditions lash out--Weather warnings include flash flood watch, threat of hail for I-15 corridor; hot weather

SAN DIEGO - Towering thunderheads generated by hot, sticky monsoonal conditions out of Mexico lashed eastern San Diego County today with heavy cloudbursts and lightning strikes that set a spate of brush fires.

The heavy clouds built up through the morning over the region's highlands before letting loose with strong showers and electrical storms in the mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Starting about 2 p.m., lightning sparked brush fires in remote locales near Warner Springs, Scissors Crossing and San Felipe. The latter was the most serious, blackening roughly 100 acres before firefighters on the ground and aboard air tankers and helicopters were able to halt its spread with a strong assist from periodic pounding rainfall, officials said.

By late evening, most of the county likely will have received some showers, though they will be lighter in western-valley and coastal communities, National Weather Service meteorologist Tina Stall said.

The storm activity will likely weaken overnight and persist in a milder form on Friday, possibly producing a bit more rain and lightning through evening, Stall said.

The weekend promises to be somewhat cooler, though still warm and humid, forecasters predict. Then, toward the beginning of the coming workweek, San Diego-area residents should enjoy a return of drier air and more comfortable temperatures, according to the weather service.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued three warnings - hazardous weather, flash flood, and hail - for north central San Diego County and southern Riverside county.

Through this evening, weather experts say a thunderstorm will be moving through the area that could produce up to two inches of rain in certain areas (especially Palomar Mountain and I-15 corridor area) and significant-sized hail.

The hazardous weather warning pertains to the summer heat the area is currently experiencing in the 90s and low 100s.

The NWS says winds may reach 4o to 50 miles per hour and lightening can be expected.

The storm is moving in a northwesterly direction at roughly 15 miles per hour.

Experts say high pressure will continue to bring hot weather to the inland areas through the weekend.

Some increase in humidity will be experienced today, but humidity will lower again Friday as temperatures increase a degree or two.

Temperatures are expected to be 88 to 98 degrees in the coastal valleys, and 98 to 108 in the inland valleys.

A cooling trend is expected to begin Sunday with temperatures back in the normal seasonal range on Monday.

Medical experts advise residents and visitors to avoid strenuous outdoor activity through the weekend if possible.

Those that have to be outside are advised to drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, wear lightweight loose-fitting clothing, wear a hat, and use sun screen to reduce the potential for sunburn.

Authorities remind parents and guardians to never leave children or pets in enclosed vehicles, even briefly.

Experts say this weather can be deadly for unprepared campers or hikers.


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