Storm expected to bring snow to mountains Friday

Wind advisory in effect until 3 a.m. Thurs

SAN DIEGO - Strong winds swept over the mountains and deserts of San Diego County Wednesday ahead of a cold winter storm system expected to bring heavy snowfall to the mountains on Friday.

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The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the mountain and desert areas until 3 a.m. Thursday. During the advisory period, gusts in the affected areas could locally exceed 45 miles per hour, according to the agency.

"Winds will decrease somewhat late tonight and Thursday, though locally breezy conditions will continue Thursday," according to an NWS advisory.

"The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high-profile vehicles -- watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines," the advisory said.

The NWS also scheduled a winter storm watch for the mountains from late Thursday through Friday evening, saying a cold winter storm will likely cause heavy snow accumulation by early Friday.

The snow level is expected to fall from 4,500 feet Thursday night to 3,500 feet by Friday evening, with lower snow levels in heavier showers or isolated thunderstorms. The weather service said six to 12 inches of snow accumulation is possible at and above 6,000 feet, while four to eight inches are expected in the 4,000- to 6,000-foot range.

"The snow will gradually taper Friday night into early Saturday," an NWS advisory said.

Elsewhere in the county, the storm is expected to bring a quarter to a third of an inch of rain near the coast, mostly Friday. Around an inch of rain in the mountains is possible at lower elevations, and a quarter inch is expected in the deserts, according to the weather service.

"Expect a cloudy morning as you head out with temperatures in the 50s mainly across the coast and valleys," said 10News Weathercaster Robert Santos about Wednesday. "Don't be surprised if you see some drizzle to a light shower [Wednesday morning and night]."

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