Winter storms continue to move through area

RIVERSIDE – Light showers, mountain snow and gusty wind are expected in Riverside County again today as the second of two storms hits the region.

The weaker of the low pressure systems brought gusty winds to the mountains and into the northern Coachella Valley starting Saturday night. The second is expected to be more widespread and affect the area into Tuesday morning. A National Weather Service wind advisory for the mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass zone, which includes the cities of Banning and Desert Hot Springs, will remain in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The remainder of the Coachella Valley was not included under the advisory, although a peak gust of 63 miles per hour was recorded overnight at Whitewater.

Winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts that may reach 65 mph in certain wind-prone areas are expected in the affected areas throughout the advisory period. The bulk of the Coachella Valley will likely see only light winds, according to the NWS.

Forecasters said the strongest winds were expected “near mountain ridge tops onto the desert slopes of the mountains and in the northern Coachella Valley below the San Gorgonio Pass.”

A winter weather advisory for mountain areas with elevations higher than 5,000 feet is set to take effect at 8 a.m. today and extend until 10 p.m. Light snowfall is expected during the morning hours, followed by a heavier round during the late afternoon and evening.

“A low pressure system will bring periods of snow to the mountains of Riverside and San Diego Counties through tonight with the most significant amounts above 5,000 feet through late this evening,” according to the weather service.

Snow levels of around 4,000 feet in the early morning will rise to between 5,000 and 5,500 feet during the afternoon before falling back to about 4,000 feet overnight. Snowfall amounts are expected to be 3 to 6 inches with up to 8 inches on the highest peaks.

Forecasters warned that the wind and blowing snow could make for difficult driving conditions.

“Residents and travelers into higher elevations in the mountains should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions due to slick roads. If possible, carry chains and take extra food and clothing,” according to the weather service.

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