Second winter storm expected to hit San Diego

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego area largely got a break from wet weather Friday as the first and weaker of two back-to-back winter storms departed, with the second trailing not far behind.

Though the skies were generally dry from dawn through early evening, stiff, gusty winds began buffeting the county in the afternoon, signaling the approach of the follow-up round of blustery conditions.

Over a 12-hour period ending at 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, scattered light showers from the departing storm dropped no more than one-tenth of an inch of moisture in most local communities, though several spots got a bit more -- including Encinitas, with 0.16, and Palomar, 0.14.

The next spate of heavy rain was expected to hit the region around 9 p.m., weather service meteorological technician Larissa Johnson said.

Those cloudbursts will likely deliver another inch or so of precipitation along the coast, as much as two inches across the inland valleys and upwards of 12 to 18 inches -- in the form of frozen white flakes -- in the highest reaches of the East County, including Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain.

Snow could drop as low as the 3,000-foot level, though it likely would soon melt at such an altitude, Johnson said.

The bulk of the moisture was expected to fall before dawn Saturday, making way for another period of lighter, off-and-on showers through the remainder of the day.

However, a wind advisory will remain in effect until 10 p.m., signifying a potential for driving hazards, especially in mountain and desert locales.

Forecast models predict that Sunday will be partly cloudy and dry, ushering in a gradual warming trend shaping up for next week, Johnson said.