RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska brought heavy snowfall to the mountains of Riverside County early today, and lighter snow showers to the upper deserts and far inland valleys.
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According to the National Weather Service, the storm was likely to linger in the county through mid-day, dropping the snow level below 2,000 feet at times.
News Channel 3 meteorologist Jerry Steffen said, "The wet low pressure system will move quickly East today taking the rain and snow with it."
It's also brought strong gusty winds to the region today. A wind advisory for the Coachella Valley was scheduled until 6 p.m. During the advisory period, sustained northwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts
up to 55 mph were expected in the Coachella Valley.
"The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles," according to an NWS advisory. "Watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines."
Gusts were expected to be strongest north and east of Interstate 10.
The weather service scheduled a winter storm warning for heavy snow in the mountains until noon, saying up to eight inches of snow accumulation was likely above 3,500 feet and up to a foot of snow accumulation was possible
above 4,500 feet. Also, local accumulations around 18 inches were expected above 7,000 feet in the San Jacinto mountains.
Sustained southwest to west winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts around 60 mph were expected near ridge tops and along desert mountain slopes.
"The combination of low temperatures and strong winds will result in lowest wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees below zero through early this morning, mainly above 6,500 feet," according to an NWS advisory.
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The weather service also scheduled a less-serious winter weather advisory for valley areas above 2,000 feet until 6 a.m. During the advisory, around two inches of snow was expected to accumulate near the foothills and wind gusts were expected to be around 30 mph.