Cold winter storm drenches county

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A cold winter storm saturated San Diego County Friday,
bringing heavy snow and gusty winds to the mountains, along with rainfall and a
possibility of thunderstorms everywhere else.

A winter storm warning for higher mountain areas was to be in effect
until 10 p.m. The snow level will fall to around 3,000 feet by this afternoon,
and snowfall rates of two inches or more per hour are possible through tonight,
according to the National Weather Service.

“The snow showers will gradually taper off late (tonight),” an NWS
advisory said. “However, additional snow showers will be possible over the
mountains on Saturday, as a secondary weaker disturbance moves across Southern

Four to 12 inches of snow accumulation is expected between 4,000 and
5,500 feet, while 12 to 22 inches of snow accumulation is expected above 5,500

Because of the heavy snow, all schools in the Julian and Mountain Empire
school districts were closed today.

Amid the snowfall, mountain areas were buffeted today by sustained 15 to
25-mile-per-hour winds, gusting up to 40 mph, according to the weather service.

The agency cautioned motorists using the eastern stretch of Interstate 8
to be extra careful, saying travel will be hazardous due to slippery roadways
and poor visibility in heavy snow, blowing snow and fog.

In addition to snow in the mountains, the storm is expected to drop up
to an inch of rain in coastal and valley areas. The weather service said
moderate to heavy rain is likely between 3 and 11 a.m., and thunderstorms with
hail are possibly mainly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The weather service scheduled a wind advisory for the deserts from 10
a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, saying there will be sustained 20 to 30 mph winds
gusting up to 50 mph today.

“Driving will be difficult, especially for motorists with high profile
vehicles,” an NWS advisory said. “Blowing sand may also damage windshields.”

For mariners off the coast of San Diego County, the weather service
scheduled a 24-hour small craft advisory, starting at 8 a.m. According to the
agency, during that time northwest swell and steep wind waves of 5 to 7 feet
will create combined seas of 8 to 10 feet.

Categories: KUSI