Cold winter storm expected today bringing showers, gusty winds and snow in mountains


City News Service

A cold storm is expected to bring significant snow showers and gusty winds to the San Diego County mountains today, and rainfall elsewhere in the region.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for areas above 3,500 feet from 6 o'clock this morning to 3 a.m. Tuesday. A winter storm warning means severe weather conditions are expected or occurring.

The snow level will fall to around 3,500-4,000 feet this morning and drop to 2,500 tonight, according to the Weather Service. Affected areas include Boulevard, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley and Ranchita.

The Weather Service forecast two to six inches of snow will accumulate above 3,500, with up to a foot of new snow above 4,500 feet.

The snow will be accompanied by 25- to 35-mph southwest-to-west winds, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour over ridges, according to the NWS.

Strong gusty winds also are expected in the local deserts. A high wind warning for the mountains and deserts is scheduled to expire at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The strongest winds are expected this afternoon and evening.

The Weather Service forecast visibility will be reduced to near zero at times because of blowing snow in the mountains and sand in the deserts.

“Residents and travelers into higher elevations in the mountains should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions due to slick roads and reduced visibility,” according to a NWS advisory. “If possible, carry chains and take extra food and clothing. This weather could be deadly for unprepared campers or hikers.”

Elsewhere in the county, a wind advisory for coastal and valley areas is scheduled to expire at 10 p.m. Wind gusts will reached up to 40 mph in those areas, where rain is also expected, according to the Weather Service.

Rainfall amounts will range from one-tenth to a quarter-inch near the coast to a half-inch to a full inch closer to the mountains, according to the NWS.