Frosty storm dumps snow in mountains

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]SAN DIEGO — A cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska brought heavy snowfall to the mountains of San Diego County early Wednesday, and lighter snow showers to the upper deserts and far inland valleys.

JulianSnow3According to the National Weather Service, the storm was likely to linger in the county through mid-day, dropping the snow level below 2,000 feet at times and producing small hail in even lower elevations.

Through 5 a.m., only brief intermittent showers were likely in coastal and valley areas but after that, showers will become more frequent with brief heavy downpours and small hail, according to the weather service. The agency also said thunderstorms were possible after 5 a.m.

The weather service scheduled a winter storm warning for heavy snow in the mountains until noon, saying up to eight inches of snow accumulation was likely above 3,500 feet and up to a foot of snow accumulation was possible above 4,500 feet.

Sustained southwest to west winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts around 60 mph were expected near ridge tops and along desert mountain slopes.

“The combination of low temperatures and strong winds will result in lowest wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees below zero through early this morning, mainly above 6,500 feet,” according to an NWS advisory.

The weather service also scheduled a less-serious winter weather advisory for valley areas above 2,000 feet until 6 a.m. During the time covered by the advisory, two to four inches of snow was expected to accumulate near the foothills, and wind gusts were expected to be around 35 mph.   In the deserts, a high wind warning was scheduled until 8 p.m. In scheduling the warning, the weather service said winds in the deserts would be gusting up to 60 mph today.

The storm also brought strong winds off the coast of San Diego today. A gale warning for mariners off the San Diego coastline was scheduled until 4 p.m. Through this afternoon, frequent gusts of 35-40 knots were expected.

The weather service scheduled a high surf advisory for the beaches until 2 p.m., saying very rough and choppy 7- to 11-foot waves and surf were likely.

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