Snow is expected to fall in the mountains as part of a winter storm expected to move into the area Tuesday, Dec. 14. Valley News/Diane Sieker photo

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Rain will continue to fall throughout Riverside County today and temperatures will be colder, meaning snow is likely in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning will remain in effect until 5 a.m. Friday in the mountain communities above 5,500 feet in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

A flash flood warning is also in effect throughout both counties until this evening.

Rain showers are expected to be slightly lighter than Tuesday, but thunderstorms are more likely this afternoon throughout the county, forecasters said. These potential thunderstorms could bring heavy downpours at times and cause flooding in low-lying areas.

The wet weather is expected to linger until Friday night.

Rainfall totals through Friday night are expected to reach 1.5 inches in the Riverside metropolitan area, 2 inches in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, 2.5 inches in the mountains and seven-tenths of an inch in the Coachella Valley, according to the NWS.

A majority of that rain is expected to fall on Thursday.

Snow levels will be around 5,000 feet this morning, then drop to around 4,500 feet tonight.

Idyllwild could get up to 3 inches of snow today and the mountains in San Bernardino County are expected to get between 10-16 inches by Friday night, with up to 24 inches possible near mountain peaks.

NWS officials advised motorists to use caution when driving above 5,500 feet because falling snow could limit visibility and make roads slippery.

In a 48-hour period ending at 3 a.m. today, Vista Grande had received the most rain, 3.52 inches, followed by 3.24 in Poppet Flats, 2.96 on Angeles Hill, 2.6 in Allandale, 2.44 at the Temescal Forest Service Guard Station and in Idyllwild, 2.21 at the Pigeon Pass Dam, and 2.12 in Beaumont.

Other noteworthy rainfall totals included 2 inches in Pine Cove, 1.93 in Temecula, 1.72 at the Riverside March Air Reserve Base, 1.28 at the Riverside Municipal Airport, 1.22 in Lake Elsinore, 1.04 in Cabazon, 0.24 in Desert Hot Springs and 0.22 at the Palm Springs International Airport.

High temperatures today could reach 56 degrees in Riverside, 63 in the San Gorgonio Pass, 68 in the Coachella Valley, 35 in Idyllwild, 52 in Temecula and 54 in Hemet.

The slow-moving storm system is expected to exit the region to the east on Saturday, then dry weather with warmer temperatures will last through at least early next week, forecasters said.