SAN DIEGO - The first in a series of Pacific storms poised to deliver torrential rain, heavy mountain snow and gusty wind to San Diego County through early next week is expected to move into Southern California late Wednesday.
"After a dry day today, a series of storm systems will move through the region tonight through early Tuesday," according to the National Weather Service. "Rain and mountain snow will be heaviest and westerly winds will be strongest Thursday morning, Friday afternoon and Sunday night, along with a slight chance of thunderstorms Thursday and Friday."
Mostly moderate rain, a slight chance of thunderstorms and mountain snow are expected with the first storm. A stronger storm on Friday will bring heavier rain, more snow, strong winds and further the possibility of thunderstorms.
More Information: Click here for the FOX 5 forecast
Showers will taper off some before a third and warmer storm moves through the region Sunday night through Monday. The snow level with the third storm could fall to as low as 3,500 feet, according to the weather service.
In the mountains and deserts, southwest to west winds of 20 to 35 miles per hour with gusts of 50 mph or higher overnight through Thursday will ramp up to 25 to 45 mph with gusts topping 65 mph Friday into Saturday morning, according to the NWS.
A wind advisory for the mountains and deserts will remain in effect from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Friday. A high wind watch for the same areas will extend from late Thursday night through Saturday morning.
From Thursday through Monday, the storms will drop heavy snowfall in the mountains expected to range from 6 inches to a foot between 5,000 feet and 6,000 feet, 1 to 2 feet between 6,000 and 7,000 feet and 2 to 3 feet on higher peaks.
Preliminary data for the five-day period also indicated the storms would also deliver a total of three-quarters of an inch to 1.5 inches of rain to the deserts, 2 to 4 inches along the coast, 3 to 6 inches to the valleys and 6 inches to a foot of rain in the mountains.
Forecasters warned that the heavy rain may cause flooding in rivers and along burn areas. Residents living in flood prone areas were urged to "take appropriate precautions."
"Soils will very likely be saturated by this time, so the flood threat will be greatest with this third storm," according to the weather service. "Rivers and burn areas will have to be watched closely for flooding and debris flows."
The inclement weather may cause slick roads and other hazardous travel conditions. County roads S-1 and S-7 may be affected.
The storms will also lead to problems at the beaches, such as very strong rip currents, minor coastal flooding and beach erosion. The surf is expected to peak at 12 to 15 feet Saturday before lowering somewhat on Sunday, although forecasters said conditions would remain hazardous at the beaches into early next week.
A beach hazards statement will remain in effect from Thursday morning through late Monday night.
Forecasters said it was unlikely that fair weather would return before Tuesday.