First storm foreshadows weekend rains

City News Service

Light to moderate rain began to fall around San Diego County early today, a sign that an expected large cold trough of low pressure moving into the region from the Gulf of Alaska has arrived.

A steadier rain — heavy at times — will occur by this afternoon and continue into this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The morning rainfall contributed to a greater than normal amount of accidents of the county's freeways and highways. According to the California Highway Patrol, there were 50 crashes reported between midnight and 8 a.m., with nearly half of those occurring between 7 and 8 a.m.

By comparison, the CHP reports that it typical handles 50 to 75 crashes during a "normal, good weather" 24-hour weekday.

Rainfall amounts will range from around a quarter to three-quarters of an inch along the coast and inland, and up to 1-2 inches on some mountain slopes, the agency advised, noting that snow levels of 6,000-7,000 feet will lower to near 4,000 feet by tonight.

A wind advisory is scheduled for the mountain areas from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Weather Service advised that south winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, would shift to southwest to west winds of 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph as the day goes on.

According to the Weather Service, a break in the wet weather will occur for Thursday before another round of precipitation develops Friday. The second storm could bring significant widespread rain and mountain snow Friday night and Saturday, with scattered showers into Sunday, the agency advised.

   
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