SAN DIEGO – An incoming winter storm is expected to bring widespread rainfall, gusts of wind as well as snow this week that could cause headaches for travelers in the mountainous areas of San Diego County.
The county’s deserts and mountains currently are in a high wind warning that went into place at 10 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The warning — coming as west winds between 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph are expected — will carry into Tuesday where it is not expected to be lifted until 4 p.m. in the mountains and 6 p.m. in the deserts.
As the low-pressure system approaches from the north, the region’s marine layer will deepen Monday afternoon into the evening when the area also is expected to see a few scattered showers.
The intensity picks up Tuesday night when the most impactful rain, winds and highest chance of thunderstorms are forecasted.
Beaches and valleys are under a wind advisory through Tuesday evening as gusts along the coast could reach up to 35 mph Tuesday during the peak of the storm system.
Forecasters are urging travelers to avoid mountain routes if possible because snow accumulation is expected at elevations as low as 2000-2,500 feet. Snow along Interstate 8 near Pine Valley is possible by Wednesday morning and would create dangerous driving conditions.
Places such as Julian and Pine Valley are under a winter storm warning from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday. Heavy snow and blowing snow are expected. Up 6 inches of snow are expected at elevations below 6,000, but places like Palomar Mountain and Mount Laguna could get more than a foot and a half of snow.
Temperatures also are expected to drop off. Daytime highs in the mid to upper 50s for coastal areas and valleys, low 40s in the mountains and upper 50s in the desert.
Rainfall totals will vary, but as of Monday, a half of an inch is expected at the coast, three-quarters of an inch is expected in East County and up to 2 inches could fall in the mountains.