Valley News -

Rain, heavy snow expected with latest storm In Riverside County


Last updated 2/20/2019 at 11:45am

RIVERSIDE - A low-pressure system is expected to reach the Inland Empire today, bringing precipitation throughout the region and the possibility for heavy snowfall in the mountains, though it is still too early this morning to tell whether flooding might occur, particularly in burn-scarred areas, forecasters said.

Frigid temperatures this morning prompted the National Weather Service to issue a frost advisory that will last until 9 a.m. in the Coachella Valley and the valleys west of the Riverside County mountains. The advisory indicates a likelihood of temperatures dropping to the low-30s across parts of the region, including Temecula, Hemet, Beaumont, the Riverside metropolitan area, Palm Springs and Indio.

NWS officials warn that shelter should be provided for pets or livestock, and sensitive outdoor plants could die if unprotected in the frost.

The south-moving storm is expected to begin dousing the region this afternoon then increase in intensity tonight into Thursday, NWS meteorologist Miguel Miller said.

The Riverside metropolitan area and Temecula could get up to a quarter-inch of rain today while around one-tenth of an inch is expected in Lake Elsinore, and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning could see around four-tenths of an inch, forecasters said. Less than one-tenth of an inch of rain is expected in the Coachella Valley.

Snow levels will remain above 4,500 feet today then drop to around 3,000 feet during the day Thursday before falling to 2,500 feet by Thursday night, Miller said.

Up to 2 feet of snow is possible near the top of Mt. San Jacinto through Friday while Idyllwild could get anywhere from 12 to 18 inches of snow, the meteorologist said.

The NWS also issued a winter storm warning for the Riverside County mountains and the San Bernardino County mountains that will be in effect from 1p.m. today through 1 a.m. Friday.

The inclement weather will make travel to those areas hazardous or impossible, forecasters said.

"If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of emergency," the NWS warned.

The low-impact rain event makes it unlikely that flooding, mud and debris flows will develop around the Cleveland National Forest and the Temescal Valley, according to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

A wide area skirting the eastern boundary of the Cleveland National Forest was left exposed to potential flood and mud damage because of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire in August. The blaze, allegedly the work of an arsonist, denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.

Heavy rainfall from Feb. 13 through Friday resulted in significant flooding, prompting street closures and evacuations. A homeless woman died Thursday when she was swept away by a heavy water flow in a concrete stormwater channel in Riverside and several homes in Lake Elsinore were damaged by the downpour.

More information is available at

The storm is expected to leave the region late Thursday night and temperatures will begin warming Friday, Miller said.


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