SAN DIEGO (AP and CNS) — A white Christmas was in store for parts of California with wet weather elsewhere in the state that could mean dangerous driving conditions and possible power outages.
"A storm system is coming and after about 10 p.m. tonight, we'll begin having scattered showers that will continue through the day on Christmas," NWS forecaster Samantha Connolly said of the San Diego impact. "The storm system will bring cooler temperatures through tomorrow, and snow above 5,000 feet."
Connolly said temperatures will drop into the high 50s to 60s in most of San Diego on Christmas day. She said temperatures in the mountains are expected to dip into the 30s and 40s during the storm.
"We will have gusty winds as well through the day and night," Connolly said. "Wind gusts will be up to 30 mph along the coasts and in the inland valleys, and as much as 50 to 60 mph in the mountains and deserts."
One-tenth to one-quarter of an inch of rain is expected along the coast and in the inland valleys and the deserts on Christmas. Half an inch to an inch of rain is expected in the mountains.
The NWS forecaster said the storm will leave San Diego later in the day on Christmas. Wednesday, the day after the storm, is expected to be dry. But more light rain could be on the way.
"We have another potential storm system that could come in on Thursday and Friday," Connolly said. "We're expecting a little rain from that, but not much."
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Monday for higher elevations in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern counties.
The weather service said the fast-moving storm system was expected to move into Southern California late Monday, bringing up to 4 inches of snow to elevations above 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) including Big Bear, Wrightwood and the Grapevine area of Interstate 5.
The system also was expected to bring gusty winds between 40 and 60 mph (64 to 97 kph) and a chance of rain at lower elevations.
The conditions could create snowy and ice-covered roads with low visibility and strong cross winds. The California Department of Transportation said chains will be required in mountain areas.
In Northern California, the weather service issued a flash flood watch for an area of Mendocino County that was charred by wildfires earlier this year.
The warning was in effect from noon until 6 p.m. Monday. Motorists traveling along Highway 20 should be on alert for possible road flooding, rockslides and debris flows, it said.
The fire in July blackened 717 square miles (1,857 square kilometers), much of it in Mendocino National Forest.
The weather service also issued a coastal flood advisory in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area until 2 p.m. Monday because of higher than normal tides.
Holiday travelers in parts of the Sierra Nevada could see up to 2 feet of snow in some mountain passes at elevations of about 6,000 feet. Forecasters say that by Tuesday, snow could fall at lower mountain elevations.