Snow on Palomar Mountain Friday morning. Courtesy UCSD HPWREN network

Cool and dry weather was predicted to continue over San Diego County Saturday, ahead of a storm system that was expected to spread rain and high elevation snow from north to south across Southern California beginning early Sunday morning, the National Weather Service said.

Steadier rainfall and strong southwest winds were expected to accompany the cold front Sunday, becoming more showery and colder Monday, with snow levels lowering over the mountains.

Heavy rainfall was possible at times, and isolated thunderstorms could hit late Sunday night into Monday.

A wind advisory was issued for 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in San Diego County coastal areas, valleys and deserts. A winter storm watch was issued for Sunday evening through Monday evening in San Diego County mountains.

The storm may exit to the east Monday night, but colder than normal weather was predicted to continue through midweek.

Temperatures along the coast and western valleys Saturday were predicted to be in the lower 60s, with overnight lows around 50. The foothills were expected to be in the upper 50s with lows in the mid-40s, the NWS said. The mountains were expected to be in the lower 50s, dropping into the upper 30s overnight, and highs in the deserts were forecast in the upper 60s with lows in the 40s.

The highest rainfall rates, possibly in excess of a half-inch per hour, were expected to occur midday Sunday, forecasters said.

Snow levels were predicted to be quite high Sunday morning, hovering around 6,500 to 7,000 feet, then rapidly dropping to around 4,500 feet Sunday evening once the cold front passes.

After the front passes, rain could become less widespread and heavy, with only scattered showers expected Sunday evening.

As the storm system continues to progress south, another wave of rain and mountain snow was expected to occur late Sunday night into Monday afternoon. Very cold air aloft could be pulled into Southern California by this wave, which may destabilize the atmosphere, bringing a small chance of thunderstorms late Sunday night into Monday morning.]

Showers were expected to end by Monday night.

No hazardous marine conditions were expected through Saturday evening. Gusty southwest winds could develop Saturday night and turn to the northwest on Sunday, with peak wind gusts of 25-30 knots expected. Rough seas, strong winds and heavy rain leading to reduced visibility may occur through much of Sunday and Monday. A slight chance of thunderstorms was expected over the coastal waters starting late Sunday into Monday morning. Conditions will improve on Tuesday.

A swell of 7-9 feet at 12-14 second periods was expected to arrive at the beaches Sunday. This may lead to some wave sets of up to 7 feet on some of the west-facing beaches Monday and Tuesday, as well as enhanced risks for rip currents.

A small craft advisory was issued for 1 a.m. Sunday to 4 p.m. Monday in coastal waters from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border, and out to 30 nautical miles from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border extending 30 to 60 nautical miles out including San Clemente Island.

— City News Service


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Ellen Bullock