One last winter storm hitting San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Get set for one more truly wintry weekend as spring waits in the wings.

Heavy rain, cold temperatures, stiff winds and mountain snow flurries are in store for the San Diego area through early Monday as a late-season Pacific storm sweeps through, according to the National Weather Service.

The precipitation likely will begin in the form of scattered drizzle late this evening, then increase in intensity through the early morning Saturday, NWS meteorologist Jamie Moker said.

Rainfall totals should range from one to two inches near the coast and three to five inches in the mountains, according to forecasters. Up to a half-inch of rain is expected in the deserts.

There also will be a chance of thunderstorms with small hail — mostly in the quarter- to half-inch-diameter range — late Saturday afternoon and evening, according to the weather service.

The storm is expected to drop traces of snow as low as 1,250 feet, several inches around the 2,000-foot mark, 6 to 12 inches above 4,000 feet and 2 feet or more on the region's highest mountaintops. The deepest drifts will build up during the afternoon and evening hours Saturday, the NWS reported.

A winter storm warning is scheduled from 11 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday for East County locales above 3,000 feet, including Cuyamaca, Julian and Mount Laguna.

The storm is expected to bring 25 to 35 mph mountain and desert winds, with gusts up to 65 mph near ridges and along desert mountain slopes. Isolated gusts up to 75 mph are also possible, forecasters said. A high-wind warning for the mountains and deserts is scheduled from 11 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday. In coastal and valley areas, gusts up to 40 mph are likely.

The high winds could make driving difficult throughout the county, especially for motorists traveling through upper-elevation areas in “high profile” vehicles. Authorities advised motorists to beware of broken tree limbs and downed power lines over the duration of the storm.

Powerful surf with sets of up to five feet are expected this weekend, when the risk of rip currents will be high, according to the NWS. Ocean waterspouts also will be a possibility.

A gale warning for boaters is scheduled from Saturday morning through late Sunday night.

In the aftermath of the late-arriving winter storm, a gradual warming trend is expected to kick in on Tuesday, the first day of spring.

Categories: KUSI