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Storm Could Bring Snow To Unusual Areas In San Diego County

Snow covered mountains are seen from a Del Cerro neighborhood in San Diego, California on Sunday, February 27, 2011
Courtesy of Donna Valerie
Snow covered mountains are seen from a Del Cerro neighborhood in San Diego, California on Sunday, February 27, 2011

A cold storm out of Canada moved into San Diego County Tuesday, starting with sprinkles that could turn to snow in unusual areas, meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for valley, mountain and desert areas from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Wednesday, saying the snow level may drop to as low as 1,500 feet in some areas overnight. That would mean parts of Alpine and other areas that rarely see snow would get a dusting.

Six inches to a foot of snow accumulation is likely in the mountains above 3,000 feet, with the highest totals above 5,000 feet, the weather service said, adding 1 to 5 inches is possible between 2,000 and 3,000 feet.

"The best chance of getting big snowflakes and the storms coming inland would be between 10 p.m. tonight and 4 a.m. tomorrow morning," said meteorologist Robert Pierce. "And, of course, once you get above 2,000 3,000 feet, there's going to be a considerable amount of snow. There could be several inches up toward Mount Laguna."

Mount Laguna stands nearly 6,000 feet. The historic mining community of Julian sits at 4,235 feet above sea level.

Overnight lows will vary across the county, from the 30s and low 40s in coastal areas to single digits in the mountains, according to the Weather Service.

The snow and low temperatures are expected to be accompanied by strong winds, with wind chill values possibly falling below zero in the mountains.

Sustained winds of 20-30 mph in the northern mountains are possible, and winds of 10-20 mph in the southern mountains, according to the NWS, which said gusts will range from 30-50 mph.

The NWS warned of reduced visibility due to blowing snow in the higher elevations.

"Only travel in an emergency," the NWS warned. "If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, extra clothes or blankets, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."

For residents closer to the coast, rainfall totals aren't expected to be anywhere near as much as in storms earlier this month. As of 4 p.m., only a few hundreds of an inch of rain had fallen around San Diego, according to the NWS.

In downtown San Diego, St. Vincent de Paul Village announced it would temporarily create more room for the homeless who want to escape the frigid temperatures at its location at 1501 Imperial Ave. The shelter will offer a meal and a place to sleep Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night.

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