The latest in a week-long series of El Nino-driven storms continued to soak Riverside County early today and could wreak havoc with the morning commute but was expected to begin to ease up this afternoon.
A National Weather Service flash flood watch — it did not apply to the Coachella Valley — is set to expire this morning, but a winter storm watch for the mountains will remain in effect until 4 a.m. Friday.
Forecasters said rain showers and isolated thunderstorms would continue to deluge some locales as the storm moves through the region this morning but will become “gradually less numerous and less intense” this afternoon through Friday.
Forecasters said that although the rainfall today would be more localized and brief than Tuesday and Wednesday, local flash flooding would be possible through late morning.
“Periods of heavy rain will continue a threat of flash flooding, mud slides and debris flows to recently burned areas, as well as steep and/or unstable terrain below the snow level,” according to the weather service. “Urban flooding, and minor flooding of small streams and low water crossings will also be possible.”
The heavy mountain snow in areas higher than 4,500 feet is also expected to lighten up tonight into Friday.
The NWS said 6 to 12 inches of snow could fall in the mountains higher than 5,500 feet between Wednesday night and Friday morning. Southwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 mph will also be possible through tonight.
Blowing snow and fog could lead to hazardous driving conditions. Travelers on mountain roads were advised to carry tire chains, extra clothing and food.
Forecasters said snow would continue Friday, but showers would be scattered and light. However, more rain will be possible over the upcoming weekend and again next week, according to the weather service.