SAN DIEGO -- With one winter storm already moved out of the county, another one was poised to take its place Wednesday, bringing more heavy rain and possibly snow above 4,000 feet.
"A major change is coming late Christmas night," National Weather Service forecaster Adam Roser said. "A colder system is making its way down the California coast from the Gulf of Alaska, bringing lots of rain in a storm likely to go through Friday night. Then, we might possibly have another storm system coming in early next week."
Roser said the expected rainfall "is looking heavy with gusty winds along the coast and inland up to 30 mph."
Forecasters said the earlier storm that's now moved out of the area scattered an inch or more of rain countywide. San Onofre received the most rain in the last 24 hours, 1.85 inches, followed by 1.74 inches at Brown Field, 1.68 on Otay Mountain, 1.66 at Lake Cuyamaca, 1.37 in Kearny Mesa, 1.35 in Dulzura, 1.3 in Escondido, 1.22 in Descanso, 1.18 at Montgomery Field, 1.16 in Encinitas, 1.13 in Alpine and Santee, 1.07 in Poway and 1.06 in Oceanside.
Other noteworthy rainfall totals included 0.91 in Julian and in San Marcos, 0.85 in La Mesa, 0.72 in Carlsbad, 0.65 in Fallbrook, 0.49 in Ramona, 0.45 in Ocotillo Wells and 0.23 in Borrego Springs.
There will likely be a lot of rain on Thursday, Roser said, adding the new storm is expected to slowly start leaving the county Friday morning.
The meteorologist said a winter storm watch, indicating the potential for heavy snow and reduced visibility in the mountains, will be in effect from 6 p.m. Christmas Day on Wednesday to 6 a.m. Friday.
High temperatures Tuesday could reach 57 degrees near the coast and inland, 56 in the western valleys, 52 near the foothills, 47 in the mountains and 64 in the deserts.
San Diego's annual rainfall season began Oct. 1. To date, at San Diego International Airport, 5.46 inches of rain have been recorded.
"The average this time of year is 2.64 inches," said Roser, adding the annual rainfall in San Diego is 10.34 inches.
"Last year we had 12.93 inches of rain," the forecaster said.