SAN DIEGO — Californians have seen their share of dry and sunny winter holidays, but this year, Christmas will come with wet weather and snow-capped mountains.
The first in a predicted series of storms entered the state Wednesday, kicking off a rainy and snowy end to the holiday week around California.
Forecasters say the storm is starting in Northern California and could bring up to an inch of rain there Wednesday, but it’s moving slowly and won’t reach the south until Thursday.
The National Weather Service says Southern California could see up to 3 inches of rain through Christmas, while California mountains could see heavier rain and perhaps as much as 8 to 10 feet of snow at higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada.
In San Diego, “the most likely time for heavier rainfall (is) some time from Thursday night into Friday morning,” the NWS explained. By Friday afternoon, rainfall totals are expected to near or surpass 2.5 inches of rain in communities including Kearny Mesa, El Cajon, Ramona and the Camp Pendleton area.
Christmas Day is expected to be cloudy with lighter, scattered showers, but the heaviest portion of the rainstorm will have passed, according to forecasters.
There will also be a gradual cooling trend Thursday into Friday, with Christmas Eve temperatures expected to be 5 to 10 degrees below average.
High temperatures will remain well below-average for much of the next week, with highs in the 50s for the coast and valleys, with the coast a little bit warmer, NWS adds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.