Friday, March 16, 2012
Heavy rain, gusty winds and mountain snow are in store for San Diego County this weekend due to a late season Pacific storm expected to arrive Saturday morning, forecasters said today.
Rainfall totals will range from one to two inches near the coast and from three to five inches in the mountains, according to National Weather Service forecasters. Up to a half-inch of rain is expected in the deserts.
There is also a chance of thunderstorms with small hail late Saturday afternoon and evening, according to the NWS.
The storm is expected to drop six to 12 inches of snow above 4,000 feet, with greater amounts possible at higher elevations. The heaviest snow showers will occur during the afternoon and evening hours, with the snow level possibly lowering to between 2,500 and 3,000 feet Saturday night, according to the NWS.
A winter storm warning is scheduled from 11 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday for mountain areas above 4,000 feet, including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna.
The storm is expected to bring 25 to 35 mile-per-hour mountain and desert winds, with gusts of up to 65 mph near ridge tops and along desert mountain slopes. Isolated gusts up to 75 miles per hour are also possible, forecasters said.
A high wind warning for the mountains and deserts is scheduled from 8 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday. A less severe wind advisory will be in effect in coastal and valley areas from 11 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday, when 40-mph gusts are expected.
Gusty winds could make driving difficult throughout the county, especially for motorists with high-profile vehicles. The Weather Service advised motorists to watch out for broken tree limbs and downed power lines.
High surf with sets of up to five feet are expected this weekend, when the risk of rip currents will be high, according to the NWS, and waterspouts are possible near the coast.
A gale watch for boaters is scheduled from Saturday morning through late Sunday night. By Saturday afternoon, according to the NWS, there will be strong west winds of up to 30 knots, with frequent gusts to 40 knots.
"The strong winds will also generate steep short-period wind waves that will cause very hazardous boating conditions,'' according to an NWS advisory.