Satellite photo of atmospheric river
Image from GEOS satellite shows “atmospheric river” over Southern California. Courtesy National Weather Service

The third winter storm of the week has arrived in San Diego County, bringing heavy rain to the region Friday along with more snow in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

The “atmospheric river” is making its way east across the county, with the heaviest rainfall expected early Friday morning, then scattered showers into Friday afternoon, forecasters said.

The weather agency issued a flash flood watch that will be in effect through Friday afternoon in coastal areas, western valleys and the mountains.

A winter storm advisory will also be in effect until 6 p.m. Friday in mountain locales above 5,000 feet.

The winter storm advisory warns that falling snow could reduce visibility and make travel difficult along mountain roadways.

The storm is expected to drop up to two inches of rain in coastal areas and western valleys, up to 2.5 inches of rain in the mountains and up to 1.5 inches of rain in the deserts, according to the NWS. There is also a slight chance of thunderstorms throughout the day Friday in coastal areas and the western valleys.

Snow levels will fall to around 4,500 feet Friday afternoon. Mountain areas above 5,000 feet could get between 5 and 10 inches of snow by Friday night, forecasters said.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, 24-hour rain totals included 1.44 inches in Vista, 1.29 in the Point Loma and Golden Hill areas, 1.17 in Fallbrook, 1.12 in Carlsbad, 1.11 in Oceanside, 1.1 in Fashion Valley and Escondido, 1.02 in Valley Center, 0.97 in Santee, 0.93 in Descanso and El Cajon, 0.9 in San Ysidro, 0.87 at Lindbergh Field, 0.84 in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, 0.7 in Poway, 0.68 in Julian and 0.63 in Ramona, according to the NWS.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, Birch Hill reported 7 inches of snow above 6,100 feet.

Winds out of the south will be between 15 and 25 mph in most areas Friday, with gusts possibly reaching 35 mph in the mountains, according to the NWS.

High temperatures Friday were expected to reach 56 degrees in coastal areas, 55 in the western valleys, 50 near the foothills, 44 in the mountains and 62 in the deserts.

Showers could linger until Friday evening in some areas, then dry weather is expected until another low-pressure system moves inland on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. Jan. 29, 2021

–City News Service

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