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Cold Pacific Storm On Its Way To San Diego

Rain, snow, gusty winds and significantly cooler temperatures are in store for San Diego County this week as a cold front moves in from the northwest, forecasters said today.

"A cold low pressure system from the northwest will move through southwest California'' on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

"It is expected to bring significant cooling with much lower snow levels, strong gusty west winds in the mountains, deserts and coastal waters, and light to moderate precipitation amounts along and west of the mountains. This cold and locally windy pattern is expected to persist into early next week.''

Rainfall amounts Thursday are expected to range from less than a tenth of an inch near the coast to around a half-inch in the mountains.

The snowfall level is expected to drop to 4,000 feet during the day Thursday and down to 2,500 feet by Thursday night. A few inches of snowfall is possible above 3,500 feet with local amounts around six inches above 5,000 feet, according to the weather service.

Temperatures throughout the region are expected to be around 10 to 15 degrees below normal through the weekend, with a minor warming possible for Monday.

"Many inland areas could have several hours of subfreezing temperatures Friday and Saturday nights with low temperatures in inland valley and some lower desert areas in the 20s and locally in the upper teens,'' according to an NWS advisory. "Growers should take precautions to protect sensitive crops.''

The NWS scheduled a high wind watch for the mountains and deserts from Thursday morning through late Thursday night. A high wind watch is issued when there is potential for a hazardous high wind event, with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour or gusts of 58 mph or greater.

During Thursday's high wind watch, sustained west winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph are expected. However, local gusts up to 65 mph are also possible, according to NWS forecasters.

The winds will be strongest near ridge tops and along desert mountain slopes, they said.

Blowing dust and sand may reduce visibility for motorists in the deserts.

"The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles,'' according to an NWS advisory. "Watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines.''

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