NWS San Diego – Winter Storm System Expected Fri Night-Sat Night! (Snow, Rain and Wind)

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Hello Partners,

Our coldest storm so far this season is expected just before the Christmas Holiday. This will likely be a big impact to holiday travel. 

Weather Summary

TRAVEL IMPACTS POSSIBLE FOR WEEKEND HOLIDAY!

A major winter storm will drop into SoCal from the NW Friday night, and continuing through Saturday night, bringing widespread rain to the region, with heavy snowfall possible in all of the SoCal mountain ranges. Travel conditions on Saturday over the mountains could deteriorate rapidly and become treacherous! Christmas Day will be very cool but dry, and then slightly milder by Monday.

Weather Threats and Impacts:

  • Heavy rainfall likely
  • Possible flooding of poor drainage and urbanized areas
  • Flash flooding possible in the mountains and debris flows possible near recent burn scars 
  • Thunderstorms possible on Saturday with heavy downpours, lightning, and strong winds
  • Heavy snow in the mountains with lighter snow at busy pass level, could bring significant travel disruptions during the holiday travel weekend
  • Strong winds during the period, wind damage possible in the mountains and deserts, gusty winds for the coast and coastal waters could also be a hazard

Forecast Precipitation Totals:

  • Coast and Valleys:1 to 1.5 inches
  • Mountains: 2 to 3 inches
  • Deserts: 0.25 to 0.50 inches

Forecast Snow Totals:

Snow Levels:

  • At Elevations 3000 feet to 4000 feet: 1 to 3 inches
  • At Elevations 4000 feet to 5000 feet: 3 to 6 inches
  • At Elevations 5000 feet to 6000 feet: 5 to 10 inches
  • At Elevations 6000 feet to 7000 feet: 6 to 12 inches
  • At Elevations 7000 feet and higher: 12 to 18 inches

Forecast Snow Levels:

Snow levels: Initially 7000 to 8000 ft Friday evening, dropping to 4000 to 5000 ft Saturday morning, and to 3000 to 3500 ft Saturday evening.

Forecast Winds:

Wind forecast: Strong winds developing Friday afternoon. Initially southwest, switching to west to northwest behind the front by Saturday morning. Wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph likely at times, with gusts to 60 mph in the deserts and mountains.

James Brotherton, Forecaster

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