RIVERSIDE – The second in a series of winter storms is expected to batter Riverside County today, bringing downpours, heavy mountain snow, possible flooding, potentially damaging winds and thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service has issued a slew of warnings and advisories for various parts of the Inland Empire.
A winter storm warning for the mountains will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday. Elevations as low as 4,500 feet may see a trace to 3 inches of snow, 5 to 10 inches could accumulate between 5,000 and 5,500 feet, 1 to 2 feet could fall in areas from 5,500 to 6,000 feet and 18 inches to 2 feet of snow could blanket higher peaks, according to the weather service.
Heavy rainfall with amounts that could exceed an inch per hour at times and thunderstorms in some areas may lead to flooding and a flash flood watch for Riverside and the surrounding valleys, the mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass zone, which includes the cities of Banning and Desert Hot Springs, will run from 7 a.m. through this evening.
Rainfall amounts expected today include 0.12 of an inch in Thermal; 0.41 in Palm Springs; 1.17 inches in Riverside; 1.42 in Hemet; 1.88 in Temecula; 2.49 in Anza; and 2.53 in Lake Elsinore, according to the weather service.
A high wind warning urging those in Riverside and the surrounding valleys to prepare for sustained wind speeds of 15 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of 45 to 60 mph will extend from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m today. The winds may be strong enough to cause structural damage, topple trees or power lines, blow debris onto roadways and make for hazardous driving conditions.
Anticipated wind speeds ramping up to 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph in the San Gorgonio Pass zone prompted authorities to issue a wind advisory for the areas. It’s set to expire at 10 p.m. Saturday.
The Coachella Valley will remain under a wind advisory from 10 a.m. today through 10 p.m. Saturday. Winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph today are expected to die down some over the weekend but will ramp back up late Sunday into Monday.
A break between storms is expected Saturday, but the next and possibly strongest in the series of storms will arrive Sunday.
Forecasters said the third storm would bring rain to most areas and snow only on the highest mountain during the day Sunday. The snow level is expected to fall to as low as 4,000 feet Sunday night through Monday.