Winter storm brings rain, mountain snow to county

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SAN DIEGO -- Another in a long series of winter storms that have soaked the San Diego area in recent weeks moved over the saturated region Wednesday, bringing more rain and flurries of mountain snow.

As of late afternoon, the precipitation had yet to begin in earnest, according to the National Weather Service. While some inland locales had gotten upwards of one-tenth of an inch of moisture by shortly after 5 p.m., others had received considerably less, weather service meteorologist Samantha Connolly said. By then, however, some spots in the East County highlands, including Julian and Mount Laguna, were reporting light snow.

The showers -- the brunt of which are expected overnight -- are expected to bring around a half-inch of moisture to communities near the ocean, one to two inches in the mountains, and one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch in the deserts, according to forecasters.

In higher elevations, the bands of dark clouds should shed snowfall of two to four inches down to 3,500 to 4,000 feet; four to eight inches from 4,000 to 5,000 feet; and six to 12 inches from 5,000 to 6,500 feet, with as much as 20 inches on the very highest peaks. Additionally, traces of frozen white flakes could fall in the high deserts, the weather service advised.

The crisp conditions were frigid enough Wednesday to generate low- temperature records in the following local communities: Ramona, where the high of 50 degrees came in under the prior Feb. 20 milestone of 52 degrees, set in 2013; Vista, where the mercury topped out at 54 (56, 1994); and Borrego, which also saw a maximum thermometer reading of 54 (59, 2013).

El Cajon tied its low maximum record of 55 degrees, last set in 2013.

Due to the severity of the cold snap, the weather service issued a winter storm warning for the local mountains, effective through 1 a.m. Friday. The icy conditions and considerable snowfall will make travel to those locales hazardous over the period, forecasters cautioned.

The storm is expected to dissipate Thursday night, making way for a warming trend beginning Friday and continuing at least into the middle of next week, forecasters advised.

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