WEATHER: Winter storm expected to bring heavy rain, high winds

RIVERSIDE – A Pacific storm is expected to hit Riverside County today with rain and potentially damaging winds.

A National Weather Service high wind warning for the mountains, the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass zone, which includes the cities of Banning and Desert Hot Springs, will take effect from 4 p.m. today through 8 p.m. Friday. West to southwest winds of 20 to 40 miles per hour will be possible, along with gusts to 75 mph on mountain ridgetops and of 60 mph in isolated locales in the deserts.

“Winds will strengthen this evening and become potentially damaging tonight through Friday,” according to the NWS.

Rain is also expected throughout the region. Predicted rainfall amounts include .05 of an inch in Thermal; .11 in Palm Springs; .69 in Riverside; .83 in Hemet; 1.05 inches in Lake Elsinore; and 1.07 in Anza and Temecula,
according to the weather service.

“The main players in this storm will be significant rain everywhere and locally heavy rain in the mountains,” according to the weather service. “Strong winds will also be a factor especially in the mountains, deserts and
coastal waters.”

Forecasters said gusty winds in the deserts and along the mountains’ deserts slopes may produce areas of blowing dust and strong cross winds that could make travel difficult along portions of Interstates 8 and 10.

“Strong winds can make driving difficult, especially for drivers of high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers,” according to the weather service. “Winds this strong may down trees and power lines and cause property damage.”

Rain may also wreak havoc on area roadways and slick conditions are expected during the morning commute Friday.

Temperatures are not expected to drop to where significant snowfall is possible, according to the NWS.

“Snow will not be a big factor, unless you happen to be hanging out above 8,000 feet,” according to the weather service.

The storm is expected to move out of the area Friday night and cooler, drier weather will follow.

In anticipation of the storm, the city of Menifee has announced the city has sand and sandbags available for residents at Fire Station 76 located at 29950 Menifee Road and the Quail Valley Fire station at 28971 Goetz Road in Sun City.

Those who wish to use the sand should be prepared to fill their own bags so bring gloves and shovels. Sand and sandbags are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is a limit of 10 bags per resident.

Residents of other cities should check with their respective cities to see if sandbags are available.

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