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Cold, damp, unsettled weather to continue this week as major storm takes aim

By Reginald Stanley. Posted December 28, 2021, 1:09 PM.

Monday and Tuesday saw colder temperatures, light showers and mountain snow continue across the region this week, as part of a larger stormy period the region has been experiencing during the latter half of December this year.

Cold, cloudy weather, along with scattered light rainfall and relatively low snow levels (approximately >3500 feet above sea level) had taken hold of the region Tuesday, with a much wetter storm bringing more widespread rain and mountain snow between Wednesday and Friday this week. Precipitation totals for Monday were mostly under 1/3 inch, with a notable exception in East Highland where 2.28 inches was reported (courtesy of Peter Michas) as well as 0.58 inches at WeatherCurrents' station in Moreno Valley. Lower totals were reported in other parts of the eastern valleys, including Hemet, San Jacinto and Perris. Colder temperatures, although with much less rainfall (if any at all) prevailed Tuesday, where precipitation amounts as of mid-day Tuesday fell under 0.1 inch at the few WeatherCurrents stations where rainfall as been observed.

The upcoming storm is expected to be far wetter, with between 1 and 2 inches predicted by Friday. Some northern parts of the Inland Empire and other valleys, as well as favorable foothill communities, can expect totals closer to 2 inches or more. Snow levels will stay relatively low once again, with widespread accumulations down to 5000 feet above sea level, and light amounts variably down to 4000 feet over the three-day period. Substantial snow accumulations, up to 24 inches, are forecast for the highest elevations of the San Bernardino Mountains. This has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Winter Storm Watch for these areas, including the communities of Big Bear Lake, Running Springs, Lake Arrowhead and surrounding areas, as well as Idyllwild-Pine Cove in the San Jacinto Mountains, from late Tuesday night through Thursday night. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued for the San Gabriel Mountains (including Wrightwood) and areas north of Castaic to Frazier Park and Tehachapi, from 4 AM Wednesday to 10 AM Thursday. Travel impacts may be severe across all mountain passes, including on major freeways and highways.

A Flood Watch was also issued for inland areas including all of Orange County, the Inland Empire, San Diego County (excluding the higher San Diego County mountains), as well as the Apple, Lucerne and Coachella valleys in the deserts. Peak impacts are expected for these areas from Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon. Weak ridging is forecast to dry the region out over the weekend, however temperatures are expected to remain below normal through the rest of 2021 and into the first days of 2022. More unsettled weather could follow around the middle of next week.

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