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Stormy week with high surf expected

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SAN DIEGO -- The first of several storms to hit San Diego County this week brought rain, the possibility of light mountain snow and building surf Monday, but a second and stronger storm system with potentially damaging waves is right around the corner.

A National Weather Service high surf advisory is scheduled to take effect at 4 p.m. today and expire at 10 p.m. Friday. Waves and surf are expected to build to 4 to 7 feet today, 5 to 8 feet Tuesday through Wednesday and to 8 to 12 feet with sets to 15 feet Thursday.

Forecasters said potentially damaging surf, coastal flooding, strong rip currents and beach erosion are expected Wednesday night through Friday morning.

“A series of  strong Pacific storms will generate large westerly swells, which will produce high surf,'' according to the weather service. “The first swell will arrive today and continue through Wednesday. A much bigger swell will arrive Wednesday evening and peak Thursday.''

The series of storms is also expected to bring increasing rain and mountain snow through Friday. The first brought occasional moderate showers and a chance of coastal thunderstorms today, but a stronger storm will cause heavier rain and mountain snow Tuesday afternoon and evening.

“The weather pattern in SoCal will be very active this week with several storm systems moving through the region,'' according to the weather service. “The most impactful storm is expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon and persist into Wednesday morning. This storm will bring moderate to heavy rainfall over the coast, valleys, foothills and deserts, with heavy snowfall occurring in the mountains above 5,500 feet.''

Forecasters said up to 4 inches of rain would be possible this week along the coast and up to 6 inches could fall in the mountains.

Subsequent storms are expected to bring heavy snow -- possibly up to three feet on the highest peaks --- through Friday, forecasters said. Snow levels are expected to drop from around 6,500 feet today to 5,000 feet on Wednesday and to 4,000 feet late Thursday, although there could be periods between the storms with little or no snowfall. About a foot of snow is expected above 5,500 feet and lesser amounts between 4,500 and 5,500 feet.

Temperatures 5 to 10 degrees below average are also in the forecast this week.

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