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Rain, Snow And Gusty Winds To Hit San Diego County

Rain, snow and gusty winds were expected throughout San Diego County Thursday, thanks to a cold low pressure system from the Northwest, meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the mountains from 7 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, saying the snow level would be around 6,000 feet this morning and fall to about 3,500-4,000 feet by Thursday night.

Snow covered mountains are seen from a Del Cerro neighborhood in San Diego, California on Sunday, February 27, 2011
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Above: Snow covered mountains are seen from a Del Cerro neighborhood in San Diego, California on Sunday, February 27, 2011

A wind advisory was in effect early Thursday in the mountains and deserts, scheduled to remain in effect until 7 p.m.

Coastal and valley areas were likely to see rain this morning, followed by a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon, according to the weather service. Rainfall totals from Thursday were expected to range from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch in lower elevations west of the mountains.

"Snow showers will begin early this morning in the higher elevations of San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains, peak in the afternoon and spread south into San Diego County, then taper off late tonight,'' an NWS advisory said.

A general dusting of snow was expected below 4,000 feet, 2 to 4 inches of snow was expected to accumulate between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, and up to 7 inches was expected on San Diego's highest peaks.

Sustained southwest to west winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour were expected to accompany the snow showers, with gusts mainly up to 50 mph.

Isolated gusts up to 60 mph were also possible, especially near mountain ridge tops and on desert slopes, according to the weather service.

"Residents and travelers into the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions and possible road closures,'' the agency said. "If possible, carry chains and take extra food and clothing.''

The storm was also expected to affect coastal waters off San Diego County Thursday. A small craft advisory for strong winds and choppy seas was scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions to small craft,'' the NWS said.

"Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in these conditions.''

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