Heavy snowfall expected in San Diego County mountains

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Heavy snowfall could be possible Saturday night in some areas in San Diego County’s mountains already buffeted by strong, gusty winds.

A National Weather Service wind advisory that will expire at 4 p.m. will be followed by a winter storm warning set to remain in effect for areas with altitudes higher than 5,000 feet from 4 p.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Monday.

Overnight, gauges recorded gusts of 61 mph in Harrison Park, of 59 on Volcan Mountain and of 58 near the Lucky Five Ranch, all near Julian, and of 48 mph in Boulevard, according to the weather service. Southwest to west winds of up to 35 mph with gusts to 55 mph were forecast for areas near mountain ridge tops and along desert mountain slopes into Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters said the low pressure system that brought strong, gusty wind to the mountains and deserts would also usher snow into higher mountain elevations Saturday night into early Sunday and again Sunday night into Monday.

“A cold low pressure system from the north will bring periods of snow showers into early Tuesday with locally heavy snowfall possible,” according to the weather service. “Snow levels will lower to around 5,500 feet today and 4,500 to 5,000 feet for Sunday through early Tuesday.”

Less than four inches of snow accumulation is forecasted for areas between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, four to eight inches is expected from 5,000 to 6,000 feet and a foot or more could be possible higher then 6,000 feet, forecasters said.

The NWS advised mountain residents and motorists to prepare for hazardous conditions and possible road closures, and to carry chains, extra food, water and clothing.

The county sheriff’s department was also advising mountain motorists, including those on area highways in Julian, Pine Valley and Descanso, to keep their gas tanks full and to keep other supplies in their vehicles. Some drivers may end up stuck in traffic for several hours, and public restroom facilities will be limited.

Those hoping to enjoy the cold weather were asked to be aware of private property, which could be marked by signs or fences, and is off limits for recreational activities. Additional law enforcement officers will be on hand to handle any large crowds that may gather in snowy areas.

Parking will also be limited, and violators will be ticketed, sheriff’s Sgt. Carlos Medina said. Vehicles blocking the roadway and private property will be towed, he said.

Light rain was also expected to continue falling in the mountains and westward. Rainfall totals from the entire weekend are expected to range from a half-inch to an inch along coast to up to two inches in the mountains.

Categories: KUSI