Cold Pacific storm brings rain to desert areas

Chance of rain and snow continues as storm front moves through desert and local mountains

POSTED: 06:09 AM PST Dec 13, 2012    UPDATED: 11:47 AM PST Dec 13, 2012 
FedEx truck roll over Highway 62 rain crash

Desert residents say they welcome the wet weather that brought rain to the Coachella Valley Thursday morning.  But that rain also brought a host of problems, mainly on local roadways.

A cold Pacific storm brought winter weather to Riverside County Thursday, prompting forecasters to urge motorists to be wary of Slippery roads and limited visibility.

A rollover crash on was reported along State Highway 62 near Indian avenue west of Desert Hot Springs.  A FedEx truck was northbound toward Twentynine Palms when the driver lost control and flipped the vehicle in the slow lane.

Big Bear reported a fresh layer of snow early Thursday morning.

Due to snow and gusty winds, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the mountains -- including Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Vista Grande -- from 4 a.m Thursday morning to 4 p.m.

The Weather Service said there was a slight chance of thunderstorms capable of producing brief periods of heavy rain and small hail.

Rainfall totals from the storm were expected to be between a half-inch and a quarter-inch in valley areas, and up to two inches in the mountains. A quarter-inch or less was expected in the Coachella Valley.

"Most of the snow will occur late (Wednesday) through Thursday evening, as the cold front moves through the area," according to an NWS advisory.

The agency said snow levels were initially around 6,500 to 7,500 feet Wednesday evening and would gradually fall to between 4,000 and 4,500 feet late today. Total snowfall from the storm was expected to be around two to six inches.

Sustained west-to-southwest winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts up to 30 mph, also were expected in the mountains early today.

"Travelers through the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions," forecasters said. "Motorists are urged to check the latest road reports before departing. Always carry chains and take extra food and clothing if you must travel into the mountains."

Some lingering light snow showers could continue into late Friday morning and there was potential for additional light snow Friday night and Sunday due to some disturbances that may move through the area, according to the Weather Service.