SOCAL: Cool down, rain in the forecast for Southwest Riverside

Noticeably cooler weather, gusty winds and a chance of evening rain will provide Riverside County some relief today from the record- breaking winter heat wave.

On Tuesday, a high of 92 degrees in Thermal and a 91-degree high in Riverside each topped by 1 degree previous records for Feb. 16, set in 1981 and 1977, respectively, and a high of 90 degrees in Indio tied a 39-year-old milestone, according to the National Weather Service. On Monday, daily high temperature records were set in Thermal and Idyllwild.

But forecasters said today would be much cooler as a Pacific storm approaches the region. A chance of light to moderate showers is in the forecast in most areas this evening into Thursday. A slight chance of precipitation is expected in the Coachella Valley Thursday morning.

High temperatures today were forecast to be 74 to 79 degrees in the valleys around Riverside, 70 to 76 degrees in the mountains, 79 to 84 degrees along the San Gorgonio Pass and 83 to 88 degrees in the Coachella Valley.

Cooler weather is expected to persist through Friday, but it will warm up again this weekend, according to the weather service.

Strong southwest winds are also expected in the mountains and upper deserts today as the cold front approaches.

A National Weather Service wind advisory for the mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning will remain in effect from 4 p.m. today to 10 a.m. Thursday. Winds of 20 to 35 miles per hour will be possible, as will gusts that could reach 60 mph in some areas.

The advisory did not extend to the Coachella Valley, but forecasters said southeast winds of 15 mph this afternoon were expected to become somewhat stronger. Winds of 15 to 20 mph are expected in the Coachella Valley tonight along with gusts to 30 mph.

Forecasters said the gusty wind might make for difficult driving conditions, especially for motorists in high-profile vehicles. Drivers were urged to use extra caution as blowing dust could lead to visibility being reduced along the San Gorgonio Pass, and the wind may be strong enough to send broken tree limbs and other debris into the roadway.

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