A winter storm expected to slam the Southland starting Monday was set to bring strong winds, thunderstorms and up to a half foot of mountain snow to Riverside County, forecasters said today, and the increased moisture could cause flash floods and mud slides in burn areas.
The National Weather Service predicted the storm will dump up to three inches of rain Monday and Tuesday on western Riverside County. And the high deserts, where thunderstorms may develop, were expected to receive even more, the NWS said.
In the mountains, forecasters predicted two to six inches of snow between 6,000 and 8,000 feet, and six to 12 inches above 8,000 feet.
The NWS issued a winter storm watch for the Riverside County mountains from Monday afternoon to Tuesday night, and said snow levels could drop rapidly to 5,500 feet by Tuesday afternoon.
The Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning will be under a high wind watch from 4 p.m Monday to 4 a.m. Wednesday, as dangerous gusts of up to 75 mph are expected to sweep through the region.
“Winds of this magnitude will make for difficult travel conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles, and could cause property damage,” the NWS warned.
A flash flood watch will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday for Riverside County valleys, including the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley and Corona, where rainfall could peak at 3/4-inch-per hour during that period.
Those near areas recently burned by wildfires, such as the Wildomar Fire burn area in the Cleveland National Forest, may be susceptible to mud and debris flows and were cautioned by the NWS to take protective measures and listen for evacuation messages.
Warmer conditions are expected for Wednesday and the rest of the week, according to forecasters.