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A White Christmas? In the mountains, yes

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 17:01:15-05

SAN DIEGO - A "White Christmas" is in store for San Diego County -- at least for our mountain communities.

Snow levels could drop as low as 3,000 feet on Saturday, which means Julian, Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain could all pick up a few inches of snow, specifically:

  • 1 to 3 inches for areas between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in elevation - includes Pine Valley and Descanso
  • 3 to 6 inches for areas between 4,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation - includes Julian and Ranchito
  • 5 to 10 inches for areas above 5,000 feet in elevation - includes Palomar Mountain

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect through 4 a.m. Christmas Day.

It's all due to a second storm system with colder temperatures that is expected to roll in late Friday night. For the valleys, the storm will bring heavy rain, strong winds, possibly flooding and a slight chance for thunderstorms. Showers should then taper off Saturday evening for a dry, but cool Christmas Day.

FULL FORECAST

"Have a full tank of gas, water and food supplies in case you are stranded in traffic for several hours," a sheriff's advisory said. "Have snow chains for areas where they will be required."

The advisory also reminded visitors to be mindful of areas that are private property which are marked by signs and fences. Private property is off limits to the public for recreational snow activities.

Parking is limited. Parking violations will be enforced and citations will be issued. Vehicles blocking roadways and private property will be towed.

The advisory also warned that public restroom facilities are limited.

If you decide to head to the mountains remember that you likely won't be the only one who is excited for snow, and that could lead to the type of traffic gridlock we've seen in the past.

LIVE WEBCAM FROM JULIAN

Case in point: New Years Day in 2015. When a snowstorm blanketed the mountains that day, thousands of people tried to get up to the mountains to see it and instead found themselves stuck in traffic for hours on end. It took our reporter, Emily Thode, five hours to reach Julian that day for a live report (see video below). She could have driven to Phoenix in that time.