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Cold storm, winds due tonight

A cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska was expected to strike San Diego County later today, bringing rain, snow and strong winds to the region, forecasters said.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm will track across Southern California tonight through Thursday, dropping temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below average.

The snow level will drop to about 4,000 feet by Wednesday, with several inches of wet snow expected at elevations of 5,000 feet or more.

Up to an inch of rain will fall west of the mountains and up to 2 inches will fall on coastal mountain slopes, according to the NWS. Forecasters warned of a slight chance of thunderstorms with small hail.

The NWS issued a wind advisory for the mountains and deserts from 5 o’clock tonight until 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“Strong winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph in the mountains and deserts in the afternoon,” according to a NWS statement.

Temperatures today were expected to peak in the mid 60s along the coast, low 50s to low 60s in the valleys and mountains, and mid 70s to low 80s in the deserts.