RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The remnants of a cold storm system that arrived in Riverside County early this week will make its way east tonight, but it will drop heavy rain this morning, snow in the mountains and possibly create thunderstorms in some parts of the Inland Empire this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
A winter storm warning is in effect until 8 p.m. today in the mountain communities above 5,500 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
As of 7 p.m. Thursday, a foot of snow had fallen at the 6,400-foot mark at Marion Mountain Campground in Pine Cove, while 5 inches of snow fell at 5,600 feet in Idyllwild, according to the NWS.
Snow levels will be around 4,500 feet this morning before rising to 5,100 feet tonight. Motorists are advised to use caution while driving above 5,500 feet because roads could be slippery and visibility could be limited because of falling snow.
The Idyllwild-Pine Cove area could get another 6 inches of snow today before the storm system exits tonight, forecasters said.
A flash flood watch is in effect throughout Riverside County until this afternoon.
Heavy rain is expected this morning, primarily in the Riverside metropolitan area and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning. Thunderstorms are also possible this afternoon in the Riverside County mountains and the Riverside metropolitan area.
Up to an inch-and-a-half of rain is expected to fall today in the Riverside metropolitan area, while the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning could get an inch of rain, the mountains could get up to 1.75 inches of rain and a half-inch of rain is expected to fall in the Coachella Valley.
Over a five-day stretch ending at 11 p.m. Thursday, Vista Grande had
received the most rain, 5.12 inches, followed by 4.41 in Poppet Flats, 4.1 in
Angeles Hill, 3.47 at the Temescal Forest Service Guard Station, 3.25 in Keenwild, 3.19 in Temecula, 3.15 at Pigeon Pass Dam and 2.95 in the Banning Bench.
Other significant rainfall totals included 2.96 at French Valley Airport, 2.84 in Beaumont and at Riverside March Air Reserve Base, 2.76 in the Moreno-Clark area, 2.25 in Lake Elsinore, 2.05 at Riverside International Airport, 0.83 in Desert Hot Springs and 0.72 at Palm Springs International Airport.
High temperatures today could reach 58 degrees in Riverside, 59 in the San Gorgonio Pass, 61 in the Coachella Valley, 38 in Idyllwild and 56 in Temecula and Hemet.
The storm system will make its way into Nevada and Arizona tonight and temperatures are expected to rise sharply on Saturday, possibly reaching the mid- to high-70s in the San Gorgonio Pass and the Coachella Valley, forecasters said.