Severe thunderstorm warning issued for San Diego

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SAN DIEGO -- A powerful, fast-moving storm moved hit the San Diego County coast during the afternoon commute Friday.

Doppler radar showed several bands of heavy showers moving steadily toward the coast at 4 p.m. The storm is expected to bring rain, gusty wind and mountain snow to  various locales across San Diego County.

A National Weather Service wind advisory for the entire county will take effect at 4 p.m. Friday. It will expire along the coast and in the valleys at 4 a.m. Saturday, and in the mountains and deserts two hours later. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts to 60 mph are in the forecast.

Forecasters said the strong winds may down tree limbs or kick up sand and dust, which could affect visibility along desert roadways.

The gusty wind may also affect air travel Friday afternoon and evening. An airport weather warning for Lindbergh Field will remain in effect from 4 p.m. to midnight, amid gusts that could potentially be around 30 knots, equal to about 34.5 mph.

“Southwest to westerly winds around 30 knots will be likely between 4 p.m. this afternoon and midnight this evening,'' according to the weather service. “In addition, there will be a slight chance of thunderstorms which would include cloud-to-ground lightning during this time period.''

Travel in the mountains could be affected as well. Forecasters said the snow level would drop to around 5,500 feet by tonight.

Up to two inches of snow could accumulate at altitudes of 5,000 to 6,000 feet, two to four inches could fall in areas between 6,000 and up to six inches may blanket the highest peaks.

The mountain snow may also reduce visibility. The NWS advised motorists and residents of mountain areas to carry snow chains, extra food and clothing.

Up to an inch of rain is also expected in some mountain areas, along with a quarter to half an inch of rain in the valleys, a tenth to a 20th of an inch in the upper deserts and a tenth of an inch or less in the lower deserts.

The storm is expected to weaken Saturday morning, forecasters said.

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