Winter storm to enter the region Monday

A winter storm expected to slam the Southland starting Monday was set to bring strong winds, thunderstorms and mountain snow to Riverside County, forecasters said today, and the increased moisture could cause flash floods and mud slides in burn areas.

The National Weather Service predicted the storm will dump up to three inches of rain Monday and Tuesday on western Riverside County.

The deserts could see up to an inch of rainfall, though the high deserts where thunderstorms may develop are expected to receive even more, the NWS said.

A cold front Tuesday could lower the snow level to 5,000 feet and “several inches [of snow] are not out of the question in some spots, which could result in some travel impacts, especially with the gusty westerly winds,” forecasters said.

The Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning will be under a high wind watch from 4 p.m Monday to 4 a.m. Wednesday, as dangerous gusts of up to 75 mph are expected to sweep through the region.

“Winds of this magnitude will make for difficult travel conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles, and could cause property damage,” the NWS warned.

A flash flood watch will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday for Riverside County valleys, including the cities of Riverside,  Moreno Valley and Corona, where rainfall could peak at 3/4-inch-per hour during that period.

Those near areas recently burned by wildfires, such as the Wildomar Fire burn area in the Cleveland National Forest, may be susceptible to mud and debris flows and were cautioned by the NWS to take protective measures and listen for evacuation messages.

Warmer conditions are expected for Wednesday and the rest of the week, according to forecasters.

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